Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield, was heavily criticised for his comments on BBC show Sunday Politics this morning.
But he denied suggesting those who voted Leave were “thick” after being challenged on his provocative claim.
He said: “The truth is that when look at who voted to Remain, most of them were the better educated people in our country.
“I think it’s absolutely true, you can actually see the pattern. All the university towns, nearly all the university towns voted Remain.”
His comments led to a clash with Tim Iredale, political editor for BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, who was hosting the debate.
He asked: “Do you stand by that? You’re seriously saying better educated people voted for Remain? Thick people voted to leave?”
Mr Sheerman, whose own constituency voted Leave, replied: “No, I didn’t use the other expression [‘thick’], you used that.”
But Mr Iredale hit back, saying: “That’s the connotation.”
And Tory MP Stuart Andrew, who also took part in the debate, described the Labour MP’s comments as “snobbery”.
Furious voters took to social media to attack Mr Sheerman.
John Graham tweeted: “And Labour represent the working classes of this Country. This proves the contempt in which these people hold the electorate. Disgraceful.”
Michael Taylor added: “I wonder how many of the people Mr Sheerman is supposed to represent are outraged by his moronic remarks?”
And LBC presenter Iain Dale wrote: “Are you a Labour voter who voted Leave? Labour MP @BarrySheerman thinks you’re a bit thick. Fatuous elitist onanist.”
But a defiant Mr Sheerman – who attended the prestigious London School of Economics – stood by his comments.
He tweeted: “Pleased that my comments @BBCLookNorth on link between Brexit support & lower educational attainment has stimulated debate.”
BBC host Jeremy Vine also defended him, writing: “We shouldn’t criticise MPs for not answering questions then shout them down when they do.”