Saturday, 31 Oct 2020

‘Brexiteers are ignorant’ Steve Coogan’s bitter swipe at Leave voters revealed

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Brexit Britain will soon be able to say it has fully cut ties with the Brussels bloc, with less than six months to go until the UK relieves itself of all commitments to the EU. Now, Britain is looking to make connections and deals with countries outside the EU27. Earlier this week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak agreed to develop closer financial links between the UK and Switzerland.

The fresh boost saw Mr Sunak sign a joint commitment with his Swiss counterpart, Ueli Maurer, to work on a new international financial services agreement.

It was a positive development, claimed Treasury officials, who said the move proved the Government’s ambition for the UK to cement its role as an international financial centre once fully independent of Brussels next year.

In Asia too is the UK emerging as a partner.

Last month, Japan’s Foreign Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, and the UK’s trade minister, Liz Truss, started talks on an economic partnership to secure business continuity.

Tokyo reportedly wants to conclude trade talks with Britain quickly and by the end of July.

A trade deal is still being negotiated between the EU and the UK.

Yesterday, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the bloc’s position needs to be “better understood and respected” by the UK if an agreement is to be found.

It came after talks finished in a dramatic fashion last week, a day early.

Boris Johnson said a “good deal” was possible but the EU must recognise UK sovereignty in areas such as fishing.

The deadline to request an extension to the Brexit transition period ended at the end of June.

So if no deal is reached at the end of the year, the EU and UK will continue trade on WTO terms.

JUST INBoris upbeat about free trade deal despite divide

Some view the Brexit process and current breakdown in negotiations as an inevitable result of what they see as a “misinformed” vote.

Steve Coogan, the British actor best-known for his Alan Partridge character, is one such proponent.

Opposed to Brexit, Mr Coogan has on several occasions been accused of “elitism” and “condescension” to those who voted to leave the EU.

This sentiment was made clear when, during an interview with Channel 4 in 2019, shortly before the Christmas election, Mr Coogan made a swipe at Leave voters.

Host Cathy Newman asked the actor what his alter ego, Alan Partridge would make of the election.

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Mr Coogan said: “Alan Partridge is ill-informed and ignorant, therefore he is a Conservative and a Brexiteer.

“The reason the Tories don’t invest as much money in education is because they depend on a certain level of ignorance for their support.”

The show’s guests quickly responded to Mr Coogan for his sweeping statement.

Former Special Advisor to Theresa May, James Johnson, especially did not find the comment funny, and hit back at the celebrity.

He said: “I don’t want to cause a fight with Steve Coogan.

“This is exactly the attitude that means these long-term Labour voters, who are good people, are leaving the Labour Party and going to the Conservatives.

“People like Steve and people in the Twitter bubble and London bubble are calling them stupid.”

Ms Newman also added: “Celebrities patronising people and telling them to vote is a little bit stomach-churning, isn’t it?”

In an attempt to defend himself, Coogan replied: “Well, I could say nothing, but the fact is if you make a difference or you can say anything that will help influence the election, I think you’re honour bound to do that.

“As we’ve seen, plenty of Tories are deserting the Tory party at the moment because it’s a party they don’t recognise.”

Boris Johnson secured a mammoth majority in the House of Commons in the winter election last year, running on the pledge to “get Brexit done”.

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