Sir Alan Sugar has told his former protégé Katie Hopkins to “shut up” and called her an idiot, criticising her poorly-timed tweets mocking celebrities who have been mourning the death of Cilla Black over the last 24 hours.

The oft-controversial former ‘Apprentice’ and ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ star Hopkins, now a columnist for The Sun, sparked outrage on Sunday (August 2nd) when she took aim at the amount of tributes that were pouring in for the 72 year old on Twitter. She wrote “If there are any celebrities who haven't yet tweeted their sadness over Cilla, please report to Sincerity Services immediately #rushtogush.”

Alan SugarSir Alan Sugar slammed former 'Apprentice' contestant Katie Hopkins for her comments over Cilla Black's death

But Lord Sugar, whose offer of a place in the final of the business-based reality show Hopkins rejected back in 2007, was not sympathetically disposed towards her comments. Retweeting her original comment, “Understand people love Cilla. But the race to proclaim this on Twitter is a curious thing,” Sir Alan added “Why don't you shut up idiot!"

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Hopkins immediately responded with a sarky comment, but Lord Sugar gave it even shorter shrift. “Calm down @Lord_Sugar, you know you love your favourite Apprentice really…” she wrote, but he fired back: “Enough with the controversy BS you need to know where to draw the line. This was too far.”

Hopkins’ original comment shocked even her followers, made just hours after the news broke yesterday that Cilla, the much-loved former pop star and host of family favourites like ‘Surprise Surprise’ and ‘Blind Date’, had died at her holiday home in Estepona on the Costa del Sol in Spain.

Lord Sugar had been just one of hundreds of celebrities paying their respects and condolences online. Even British Prime Minster David Cameron reacted, saying that Black was a “huge talent who made a significant contribution to public life” in the UK.

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