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Strictly's Kevin Clifton passionately defends Stacey Dooley - see his supportive messages

The professional dancer joined the debate among his followers

Chloe Best

Kevin Clifton has supported Stacey Dooley amid the backlash she has received over her visit to Africa for Comic Relief. The Strictly Come Dancing winner had to defend herself this week when MP David Lammy reacted to her Instagram pictures from the trip, saying "the world does not need any more white saviours," and now her professional dance partner Kevin has joined the debate.

The 36-year-old has replied to several messages from followers over the past couple of days, defending Stacey’s decision to go to Africa to support the charity and challenging David’s view that the images she shared reinforce negative stereotypes.

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Kevin Clifton has shown his support for Stacey Dooley

"I personally think using celebs or influencers in any situation is a tried and tested way of creating more attention on something that otherwise may not get as much exposure," he replied to one person, who said they didn’t understand why Comic Relief and other charities feel the need to use celebrities like Stacey in their promotional videos.

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Kevin also said that Stacey had no ulterior motive in her work with Comic Relief, and had spent time talking to locals to find out what help they needed, which was more helpful than the row that MP David Lammy has sparked. "She’s interviewing doctors over there, getting THEIR views. David Lammy isn’t," Kevin wrote. "He’s not on the ground or giving anyone a voice. He’s going on UK breakfast shows giving HIS VOICE."

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Stacey was criticised by MP David Lammy over her visit to Africa for Comic Relief

The loyalty Kevin has shown has earned him praise for being such a supportive friend to Stacey, with one saying that although they had different views in the debate, she believed he was "the greatest friend Stacey Dooley could ask for". Comic Relief has also released a statement defending Stacey in the wake of the debate, saying: "We are really grateful that Stacey Dooley, an award-winning and internationally acclaimed documentary-maker, agreed to go to Uganda to discover more about projects the British people have funded there and make no apologies for this.

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"She has filmed and reported on challenging issues all over the world, helping to put a much-needed spotlight on issues that affect people's lives daily. In her film, people working with or supported by Comic Relief projects tell their own stories in their own words. We have previously asked David Lammy if he would like to work with us to make a film in Africa and he has not responded. The offer is still open."

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