Lord Coe defends diving MP Penny Mordaunt’s appearance in Splash!

The memorial celebrating Portsmouth's great boxers is unveiled by Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Ken Ellcome and boxer Joel McIntyre Picture: Neil Marshall (171035-23)

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LONDON Olympics supremo Sebastian Coe has defended Penny Mordaunt’s participation in Splash! – and says he hopes she wins it.

The former athlete drew a comparison with the media and political criticism aimed at him for appearing in an episode of sitcom The Brittas Empire while a Conservative MP, but said that he had received no complaints from his constituents about it.

Writing in the Telegraph, Lord Coe said: ‘Would the criticism of Mordaunt have been at the same volume if she’d decided to run the London Marathon in order to save her local lido?

‘It would have entailed probably the same amount of training and time commitment - probably more - and she would have appeared on TV but with a cast of thousands. Or is it the fact that this is all captured on primetime TV over a few weeks that rankles? So good luck Penny. Train hard and I hope you win.’