Daily Mail columnist who spent career working from home slammed for telling Britons they should return to the office

PUBLISHED: 11:38 28 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:01 28 August 2020

Richard Littlejohn; Ian West

Richard Littlejohn; Ian West

PA Archive/PA Images

A Daily Mail columnist is being berated on social media for criticising Britons working from home despite admitting he does the same himself.

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Richard Littlejohn is as the centre of a Twitter storm after criticising Britons working from home despite admitting that “like most people who write for a living, I’ve worked from home for the past 30-odd years”.

Over the past few weeks, the government has tried to encourage employees to return to the workplace in a bid to salvage many of the business reliant on their footfall. But, despite ministers’ best attempts, only a low number have chosen to return.

Disappointed with the turn-out, Littlejohn, who writes a twice-weekly column for the Daily Mail, slammed “white-collar staff” and likened them to Nazi sympathisers following news that Pret-A-Manger would shed 2,800 jobs due to a drop in trade.

“You can hear them every single day on radio phone-ins, boasting smugly about their exciting new ‘work/life balance’ and the amount of money they are saving on their railway season tickets,” Littlejohn wrote.

“Meanwhile, they’re climbing over each other to fill their faces with state-subsidised chicken and chips at Nando’s, while at the same time pretending to be too frightened to turn up for work.

“What never seems to dawn on them is that one man’s WFH (Working From Home) is another man’s P45.”

He went on to say that “millions of people WFH is a Fool’s Paradise,” before writing that “in the interests of full disclosure” that he had been working from home “for the past 30-odd years”.

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The veteran British columnist was shot down on Twitter.

The FT’s Sebastian Payne pointed out: “Richard Littlejohn lives in Florida, writing columns from his beach home rallying against the decline of England.”

Tom Peck, a political sketch writer at The Independent, cast doubt on Littlejohn’s claims that he would venture into the office just for “the sheer joy of interacting with others”.

“I have worked in the same office as Richard Littlejohn for eleven years and I am happy to be corrected but to the very best of my knowledge he has never once been into it,” Peck wrote.

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Gail Bishop, an artistic director, said Littlejohn failed to understand London house prices were in part to blame. “Has it occurred to Richard Littlejohn that if people could afford to live IN London, they’d be more willing to go to the office, even if just a few days a week? All those blocks of flats approved by Boris when he was mayor. A 1-bed in Vauxhall £600k+, average London salary £37k.”

“You do have to wonder sometimes -- well, quite often, actually -- what people like Richard Littlejohn see when they look in the mirror,” John Glover pondered.

But it was the FT’s features writer, Henry Mance, who made the most valid point: “In fairness, Richard Littlejohn is a very good argument against working from home for too long.”

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