Journalist and 'Have I Got News for You' panelist Ian Hislop has come under fire for claiming that women are 'too modest' to guest-host the satirical TV programme.

Hislop - who has featured on the show since 1990 - made the comments in an interview with fellow panelist Paul Merton for the Radio Times.

When they were asked why the programme had not had more female presenters over the years - only one of the eleven guest presenters has been a woman, Anne Widdecombe - Merton said: "The producers always ask more women than men. More women say no. Right from the early days, that's been the case."

Hislop then said: "There was a period when people said, 'Why haven't you had French and Saunders on? Why haven't you had the following people?" And you say, 'Well, it's not compulsory.' And on the whole, women are slightly more reticent and think, maybe modestly, 'I can't do that.' Maybe more men in public life say, 'Yes, I can do that."'

The pair have been criticised on social media for their generalisations and 'mansplaining' the male to female ratio of the programme.