“The Gates of England are flooded. The country’s been thrown away,” Morrissey was quoted as saying on the front cover of the issue dated December 1.

The paper attacked the former Smiths frontman for “na├»ve hypocrisy” and said his language “dangerously echoes” the British National Party’s current manifesto.

Morrissey says his words have been taken out of context and it looks as if he and the NME may be heading for the High Court.

It isn’t the first time he’s fallen out with the magazine. Fifteen years ago it accused him of dabbling in racist imagery after he draped himself in a Union Jack at a gig in London’s Finsbury Park.

It led to a communication breakdown that lasted 12 years, although NME still heralded The Smiths as the most influential act ever.

Previously it had supported Morrissey and the band with something approaching idolatry, leading some critics to refer to it as the New Morrissey Express.

The maverick singer/songwriter’s spokesman has said that legal proceedings

“We are suing them for defamation. They have not only misquoted Morrissey, they have omitted critical parts of the interview and distorted the tone of the piece, his responses and the questions he was asked in order to try and present an inflammatory case,” the spokesman told The Times, which, along with the Guardian, reprinted his alleged comments about immigration.

The Guardian also printed Morrissey’s opinion of NME and his absolutely scathing account of the interview.

Morrissey’s advisers are said to be claiming Tim Jonze, the journalist who did the interview for the piece, had asked for his name to be left out of the published copy because it bore so little resemblance to his original.

The credits name Jonze as the interviewer but attribute the words to NME.

Under the front-page banner “Big Mouth Strikes Again,” the Q&A-format piece reportedly quotes Morrissey, who divides his time between Los Angeles and Rome, saying: “With the issue of immigration, it’s very difficult because, although I don’t have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England, the more The music mag hasn’t commented beyond confirming that it’s heard from Morrissey’s legal representatives.