LAST week, as the latest offering from Jeremy Clarkson and his co-presenters was aired mocking a housing estate in Invergordon, my team in the constituency office, also based in Invergordon, were dealing with one of the most distressing cases we have encountered since the election in May 2016.

At the same time as the wealthy, privileged Clarkson mocked what he described as a “council estate full of hypodermic needles”, one individual was wondering where their next meal was coming from because they had just been sanctioned by the DWP.

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As the insensitive comments and barely concealed sniggers continued, a business owner despaired that they may have to make their five staff redundant come the end of the month because of the uncertainty over Brexit.

We have reached a stage in the wider UK where it is now acceptable to laugh at others that are deemed somehow “less fortunate” than ourselves. Minority communities, deprived communities; that sense of “the other” gives rise in some quarters to fear, distrust and mockery.

Unfortunately, by allowing this episode to run in the manner that it did, this programme’s producers have failed people in Invergordon. Programmes like The Grand Tour are fantastic for showcasing areas of my constituency that we want people to come and visit. It is true that the NC500 has opened up the North Highlands to the world, albeit that it still faces challenges in infrastructure and some facilities.

I should not have to go to the press and stick up for my constituents and defend them as being normal people trying to make their way in life. I should not have to remind the outside world that these people are just like you and me, facing difficult circumstances that some ignorant TV presenters cannot even begin to contemplate.

Jeremy Clarkson and his chums have forged hugely successful careers with their presenting style and humour. Once you turn that into mocking people that have no means of defence, the game’s a bogey. They should be ashamed of themselves. Clarkson stated afterwards that the location was picked to annoy the producer. He said – “You can see why they want to be Independent, can’t you?”

After this crass attempt at humour, I am sure a lot more people can now, Mr Clarkson.