James Blunt has stepped up his war of words with a British politician after he wrote an open letter telling the singer to stop acting "so blooming precious" over his privileged upbringing.

Member of Parliament (Mp) and Shadow Culture Minister Chris Bryant suggested in an interview last week (ends18Jan15) that the arts are at risk of becoming dominated by actors and singers from "posh backgrounds", such Eddie Redmayne and James Blunt, as the working class cannot afford professional training.

Blunt responded in a critical newspaper letter, labelling him a "classist gimp" and "prejudiced wazzock" for taking aim at those with a privileged upbringing, adding that being "posh" has been a hindrance in his own career.

Bryant refused to back down from their war of words and wrote an open letter to Blunt defending his position.

He writes on Guardian.com, "Dear James, stop being so blooming precious. I'm not knocking your success. I even contributed to it by buying one of your albums... If you'd read the whole of my interview, you'd have seen that I make the point that the people who subsidise the arts the most are artists themselves. Of course that includes you. But it is a statement of the blindingly obvious that that is far tougher if you come from a poor family..."

They then took their argument to Twitter.com, with Blunt writing directly to Bryant, "To help people at the bottom of the tree join those near the top, give them a ladder, not a bow and arrow."

Bryant retaliated, writing, "It's quite difficult to lower a ladder from the top of the tree. Better to place it firmly on the ground so all can climb up?"

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