Home Tv & Show David Attenborough laid into ‘irritating and interfering EU’ in rare Brexit intervention

David Attenborough laid into ‘irritating and interfering EU’ in rare Brexit intervention


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The wildlife documentarian, 94, has spent the majority of his life trying to reconnect people with nature and awaken them to the dangers of climate change. Sir David, whose new show Attenborough’s Life In Colour airs this weekend, also spoke out on Brexit when questioned about the impact on the UK. During his response, the naturalist pointed out some of the issues that led the nation to leave the EU.

Sir David suggested that Brexit or a similar change to the UK’s relationship with the bloc was inevitable due to the treatment of member states.

He felt that there was growing unrest among the public because people were “fed up” with certain laws being dictated by the EU.

The TV star did not reveal whether he voted Leave or Remain in the 2016 referendum but stated: “There had to be change one way or another.”

He told Italian newspaper La Repubblica, that Brexit was influenced by the public being “irritated” by the EU.


David Attenborough claimed to understand why the UK voted for Brexit in 2016 (Image: GETTY)

david attenborough brexit eu european union uk tv

David Attenborough has spent nearly seven decades of his life working on wildlife documentaries (Image: GETTY)

Sir David said: “The ways in which the European community has interfered with people’s lives, on silly levels or silly issues, has irritated a lot of people.”

He claimed this frustration led 52 percent of the public to vote for Brexit.

Sir David believed the “irritation” made it difficult for people to see the benefits of remaining in the EU.

He continued: “[They] don’t actually understand what the advantages and the disadvantages are.”

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david attenborough brexit eu european union uk tv

David Attenborough served as the Controller of BBC Two and has also been a wildlife documentarian (Image: GETTY)

Sir David believed the public was “fed up” with the EU because of the things like tariffs on food and “interfering” with how the UK was run.

He said: “They’re just fed up with somebody over there, who doesn’t speak their language, telling him how much money they have got to charge for tomatoes or something silly.”

While Sir David noted that “something silly” could have caused public opinion to turn against the EU, he felt the bloc was to blame as well.

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david attenborough brexit eu european union uk tv

The five key moments that led to the UK voting for Brexit (Image: EXPRESS)

He continued: “Maybe the European Union didn’t pay enough attention to what sort of things members of Europe care about.”

Sir David also argued that the EU had been “allowed” to do “all sorts of things which irritated the members”.

He was concerned about the “absurd” mess in the lead-up to leaving the bloc and branded disputes over the Brexit deal “ridiculous”.

Sir David was also worried that Brexit could overshadow other more-concerning world issues.

david attenborough brexit eu european union uk tv

David Attenborough was concerned that Brexit overshadowed world issues – like climate change (Image: GETTY)

He noted South America and Africa “faced hideous problems” related to the environment but the world had not paid attention.

Sir David felt “silly squabbles about Brexit” detracted from the climate crisis and “occupied” too much time on the international stage.

He raised concern over anti-EU sentiment sparking a resurgence in fascism.

Sir David believed people were “losing reason” and “becoming enraged” about Brexit.

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Amid the heated debates, he hoped that each nation would remember “the lunacy that overtook Europe” during the Thirties and Forties. 

Sir David added: “Mobs of people are a very, very ugly sight.”

The documentarian’s comments followed him expressing “sadness” over Brexit back in 2016. 

When asked about the environmental impact of leaving the EU, Sir David told the Guardian: “That is sad.

david attenborough brexit eu european union uk tv

David Attenborough is known to be close to Queen Elizabeth II and entertained her children (above) (Image: GETTY)

“Swallows aren’t members of the union and migrant birds and so on.”

He hoped that EU protections for wildlife, birds and their habitats would remain within UK law. 

Sir David said: “I hope it may be possible for us to do so.”

Attenborough’s Life In Colour airs at 7pm Sunday on BBC One.


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