Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne has been caught up in an astonishing Twitter row in which he called a fellow user a ‘paedophile lover’.
The multi-millionaire business tycoon got into an angry spat with tweeter Andy Burge over whether or not parents should smoke in front of their children.
Bannatyne asked him if he thought ”smoking in cars with children in the back was okay” to which Mr Burge replied ”it’s none of your business unless they’re your kids”.
After a series of heated exchanges on Monday night, Glaswegian Bannatyne tweeted to Mr Burge: ”You believe parents can do anything to their children without reprisals?”
At which point Mr Burge replied: ”I believe its their business not yours Duncan .. they’re NOT your children, get it??”
Bannatyne – who works with the anti-smoking charity QUIT – then tweeted: ”Yep got it. You believe they abuse, harm & damage their children & you will just stand back & watch. Creep.”
This prompted an angry response from Burge at 7.58pm who unleashed a barrage of obscenities, calling the TV star an ”arrogant f**k”.
Bannatyne then replied by tweeting at 8.02pm: ”You poor sad phaedophile (sic) lover.”
At 8.53pm Burge tweeted: ”happy to give @duncanbannatyne chance to withdraw criminal accusation against me,, well Duncan?”
The unrepentant Scot replied at 9.10pm: ”I am looking forward to the court case to look him in the eye. He will probably get legal aid. My winnings will go to support child cancer.”
Burge later apologised for his outburst, tweeting at 9.26pm: ”ok everyone, I was wrong to swear at @duncanbannatyne .. he was wrong to call me ‘paedophile lover’ hope you agree Duncan .. can we move on?”
Bannatyne, who has more than 209,000 followers on Twitter, did not reply to the peace offering.
Today the TV star was unrepentant about his comments.
He said: ”Smoking in front of children is a form of abuse, in my view. I have been working with the charity, QUIT, to raise awareness and encourage people to protect, rather than endanger, their children.
”Sadly there is still a lot ignorance out there, and some of this has some across on Twitter.”
Bannatyne is no stranger to controversy on the social networking website.
In October last year he was involved in an argument with user Gillian Monaghan over how much money he gives to good causes.
The business magnate, worth more than £300 million, told Ms Monaghan he’d already donated £700,000 this year and that she had “not given one single penny to charity and you are doing more damage to good causes than anyone else on this planet.”
He has also used Twitter as part of his spat with fellow Dragon James Caan after the pair fell out over tax privileges for non-domicile businessmen.