A Conservative MP has labelled Carol Vorderman a "horrible little snob" after she criticised another MP and his wife for having high salaries without academic qualifications.
Vorderman has become a high-profile critic of the government in recent months, posting frequent criticism around issues such as the use of 'VIP lanes' to procure PPE during the COVID pandemic.
The latest spat started after Vorderman posted a celebratory tweet citing a prediction that Labour will win the Plymouth Moor seat at a general election, ousting current MP and Veterans' Minister Johnny Mercer.
"Gosh, what are arrogant Johnny Mercer & his wife going to do for a joint income of £160,000+ plus enormous expenses?" she asked.
"Not a degree in sight in spite of expensive private education! So who'd employ them?"
Vorderman's post was quickly jumped on by Redcar and Cleveland MP Jacob Young.
"I grew up watching this woman on TV," he wrote. "I was good at maths and preferred the numbers part of countdown.
"A degree wasn’t right for me, so I did an apprenticeship instead.
"'Not a degree in sight… so who’d employ them?' What a horrible little snob she has exposed herself to be."
I grew up watching this woman on TV. I was good at maths and preferred the numbers part of countdown. A degree wasn’t right for me, so I did an apprenticeship instead.
“Not a degree in sight… so who’d employ them?”
What a horrible little snob she has exposed herself to be.
— Jacob Young MP (@JacobYoungMP) July 10, 2023
Vorderman's tweet was the latest in a long-running online spat with Mercer and his wife, Felicity.
Last week, Vorderman was one of many to criticise Mercer after he was branded "out of touch" for suggesting military personnel who use food banks do so as a lifestyle choice.
The MP also suggested that food bank usage is "not an accurate portrayal" of levels of poverty in the UK.
Asking her followers to retweet, Vorderman wrote: "Tory Minister @JohnnyMercerUK mocks military who use foodbanks: 'personal decision' he says.
"We pay his wife in his office 2015/21 her salary ROSE UP TO 200 percent from 15-20k to 40-45k.
"The GRIFTER-MERCERS anyone?"
NEWS@JohnnyMercerUK thinks food bank use is "a personal decision"
I grew up in poverty, mum had 5 jobs, nearly killed her. It was NOT a choice
Total cost to taxpayer of Mercer is £373,663
Wife works in his office
Their total taxpayers' salary is approx £120,000 pic.twitter.com/chAg4KeUXR
— Carol Vorderman (@carolvorders) July 4, 2023
Vorderman was subsequently accused of “inciting hate” by Mercer’s wife.
She told broadcaster Rachel Johnson: “It’s this idea of these celebrity attack dogs that know nothing about politics.
“I understand everyone has an opinion on politics, but for me, it’s this blanket hatred of, it’s like inciting people to hate all Tories.
“If you dig deeper, there are so many Tory MPs - they’re all very different. There’s a huge range of different types of personalities, different opinions, different views, different principles.
“You can’t blanket hate. This is what Vorderman seems to be doing."
In June, Vorderman retweeted a Daily Mirror story about 'partygate', telling her 818,600 followers: "December 14th 2020.
"Tories drink & dance at Covid rules in first ever Partygate video. Johnson has given honours to (soon to be Lord) Shaun Bailey and Ben Mallet both of whom were at this party.
"No govt or political party has ever disgusted me more."
And in April she accused the government of of "actively encouraging corruption" with its Procurement Bill that was passed in July 2022.
As part of a lengthy post, she wrote: "VIP LANES for ministers to be actively involved in giving contracts but NOT having to declare it has been passed into law by the Procurement Bill.
Read more from Yahoo News UK:
"Yes. The UK government is actively encouraging corruption!!!
"With an appalling record so far. Think up to £58 BILLION of fraud through gov depts in one year, this week confirmed by the Office of National Statistics, as a single example."
The Government has come under fire for the use of “VIP lanes”, whereby preferential treatment for public contracts can be given to organisations recommended by MPs and peers.
Last year the Commons Public Accounts Committee said the Government had lost 75% of the £12 billion it spent on personal protective equipment (PPE) in the first year of the pandemic, to inflated prices and kit that did not meet requirements, including £4 billion of PPE that could not be used in the NHS.
The Government announced in December it was suing one firm that supplied it with PPE for £122 million plus costs.
Vorderman graduated with a third class degree in Engineering from Cambridge University. She describes herself as an "Educational Philanthropist" and "Independent woman of independent thought" in her Twitter bio.
Mercer, who was privately educated before embarking upon a military career where he rose to the rank of Captain, describes himself as a "believer in change".