Joe Lycett has been praised after mocking the UK government’s approach to immigration during the Commonwealth games opening ceremony in Birmingham.
The comedian, dressed in a frilly pink and white tracksuit, was part of the presentation of the ceremony on Thursday.
Lycett, who hails from the host city, declared himself as “Birmingham’s answer to Sporty Spice” as he introduced athletes from Asia.
“I’m thrilled to be here next to all these pyrotechnics in this highly flammable outfit,” he said.
“I’m going to do something now that the British government doesn’t always do, and welcome some foreigners and welcome the region of Asia.”
He later included home secretary Priti Patel in a tweet saying it was “just a bit of banter”.
— Joe Lycett (@joelycett) July 28, 2022
The Conservative government has faced fierce criticism for a series of hardline immigration policies, including the Windrush scandal and most recently its plan to send migrants to Rwanda.
The first deportation flight was grounded in June after a series of legal challenges, and another attempt is yet to be scheduled.
The policy is a response to thousands of people reaching the UK after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats since the start of this year.
Among the praise, one Twitter user said Lycett should get a knighthood.
— Kathryn Williams (@KathW80) July 28, 2022
— Matt D (@mafudurrant) July 28, 2022
— Original Techno (@OriginalTechno) July 28, 2022
Fellow comedian Sir Lenny Henry kicked off the 2022 games and athlete’s parade in the city.
A cast of other famous faces including Motsi Mabuse and US rock star Lenny Kravitz delivered virtual messages of support to the competitors as they entered the Alexander Stadium on Thursday night.
The opening ceremony closed with a bang and a short setlist from Birmingham band Duran Duran.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.