Music mogul Simon Cowell has hit back at a top U.K. politician who branded him "irresponsible" for dismissing the importance of education.

The talent show boss struggled through his studies at school and left without many qualifications. In a recent interview, Cowell mentioned that the secret to his success was being "useless at school" and getting "lucky".

The U.K.'s Education Secretary Michael Gove took offence at the remarks, insisting the star was "irresponsible and stupid" for brushing off the importance of doing well at school.

He said, "Teachers strive every day to ensure children understand the importance of learning, hard work and discipline. Simon Cowell's comments undermine their efforts. The truth is that only a tiny fraction of people get lucky."

Cowell has now taken to Twitter to insist his comments were made in jest, writing, "Wow! I read the remarks today about a joke I made in an interview. I was lucky that after failing my exams I was given a chance to work hard.

"I have a policy at my company that we judge people on their qualities not just their exam results. We encourage hard work and I believe everyone should have a chance to do well.

"I don't endorse dropping out of school but if for some reason you don't do as well as others that you can still do well in life (sic)."