News UK has confirmed controversial columnist Kelvin MacKenzie has left The Sun ''by mutual consent'' following weeks of speculation.

The former editor of the tabloid was rumoured to be getting the sack from the paper following his 14 April column in which he compared mixed raced Everton footballer Ross Barkley to a gorilla, as well as claiming the only people in Liverpool who earn the same as footballers are "drug dealers".

MacKenzie dismissed the outrage surrounding the column as "beyond parody", adding that he had "no idea of Ross Barkley's family background".

MacKenzie was the editor of the Sun when it ran the since dismissed ''The Truth'' coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in which 96 people died. It falsely claimed drunk Liverpool fans pick-pocketed and urinated on the dead and dying and attacked police attempting to give the kiss of life.

The coverage led to a city-wide boycott of the paper in Liverpool which still exists to this day.

He has also come under criticism for a column asking why Channel 4 News allowed Fatima Manji to wear a hijab during a broadcast about the 2016 Nice terror attack, accusing the network of making a "religious statement".

He was also condemned for a interview with the New York times in which he said his ideal headline would be ''Jeremy Corbyn knifed to death by asylum seeker''. He later texted the journalist who conducted the interview, Katrin Bennhold, asking her to change what he said after realising the comments were in "poor taste" in the wake of the murder of fellow Labour MP Jo Cox.

A News UK spokesperson said: "Further to our statement on 15 April that Kelvin MacKenzie's services as a columnist for The Sun were suspended, we can confirm that Mr MacKenzie's column will not return to The Sun and his contract with News Group Newspapers has been terminated by mutual consent."

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Kelvin MacKenzie has a history of controversial moments Reuters