London Mayor Sadiq Khan has criticised John Cleese after the Fawlty Towers legend said the capital was "not really an English city any more".
The former Monty Python star tweeted: "Virtually all my friends from abroad have confirmed my observation. So there must be some truth in it..."
Some years ago I opined that London was not really an English city any more— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) May 29, 2019
Since then, virtually all my friends from abroad have confirmed my observation
So there must be some truth in it...
I note also that London was the UK city that voted most strongly to remain in the EU
Mr Khan responded: "These comments make John Cleese sound like he's in character as Basil Fawlty.
"Londoners know that our diversity is our greatest strength."
He added: "We are proudly the English capital, a European city and a global hub."
Cleese's comments come eight years after the comedian made headlines for similar remarks, saying London felt like a foreign city and that English culture was disappearing.
In his new message on Wednesday, the 79-year-old added: "I note also that London was the UK city that voted most strongly to remain in the EU."
'The Englishness of my upbringing'
He used a series of further tweets to deny that his comments were about race, saying the character of the capital had changed since he was young.
"I suspect I should apologise for my affection for the Englishness of my upbringing, but in some ways I found it calmer, more polite, more humorous, less tabloid, and less money-oriented than the one that is replacing it," he wrote.
He later stressed again that his opinions were based on cultural differences, not race.
I think it's legitimate to prefer one culture to another— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) May 30, 2019
For example, I prefer cultures that do not tolerate female genital mutilation.
Will this will be considered racist by all those who hover, eagerly hoping that someone will offend them - on someone else's behalf, naturally https://t.co/4WbZDFjs3o
He also hit back at sarcastic comments from the public about his reasons for living on the island of Nevis in the Caribbean.
Cleese had said on his Twitter feed that he applauded the island for its "excellent race relations, a very well educated population, no sign of political correctness".
Cleese moved to the island of Nevis in the Caribbean last November. In July, he told BBC Newsnight he was "so disappointed with so much about this country" - particularly the press and the level of debate in the 2016 EU referendum.
There had been "dreadful lies on the right" and "scare tactics" from then-Prime Minister David Cameron and George Osborne, he said.
His comments sparked a backlash on Twitter.
a man writes from Nevis— Dom Joly (@domjoly) May 29, 2019
Hi I'm John Cleese. Today I'll be complaining there are too many immigrants in London from my home where I live in the Caribbean.— James Felton (@JimMFelton) May 29, 2019
But he also got support. The official Leave.EU account wrote: "Bravo to British comedy legend and Brexiteer @JohnCleese for speaking up about the state of London.
"The liberal luvvies on Twitter are in meltdown over his refusal to apologise for telling the truth!"
Yesterday it was Kate Hoey's turn for the Twitter hate mob.— Lee Hurst (@2010LeeHurst) May 29, 2019
Today it's John Cleese.
The left advertising what a wonderful world they want us to live in, one where to express an opinion they disagree with means you must suffer their abuse until you comply.
Cleese's spokesman said there was no further comment.