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Beckham backs EU, Cleese wants Brexit

Press AssociationPress Association 22/06/2016

David Beckham has come out in favour of staying in the European Union, saying that an international crop of players including Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and Frenchman Eric Cantona made Manchester United great.

But other famous British faces including fellow footballer Sol Campbell and Monty Python star John Cleese have thrown their support behind the Brexit campaign.



* James Bond actor Daniel Craig has added his support to the Remain campaign. The 007 star was pictured wearing a vote Remain t-shirt with the words "No man is an island. No country by itself" emblazoned across it in a picture tweeted on the Stronger IN account.

* Adventurer and TV presenter Bear Grylls said he spoke "from the heart" in backing the EU. He said: "At such a time for the UK to retreat, run and cut ourselves loose from Europe, when there are so many challenges on our doorstep, to me just doesn't feel either courageous or kind. Europe has many flaws, but I also believe the way to help resolve many of those tough issues is from within ... I have never been a good quitter and I am so proud of the UK and our values: tolerance, kindness, respect, courage and resilience. This is why I want us to stay together and Remain in Europe."

* Harry Potter author JK Rowling has come out in support of the Remain campaign and suggested that "racists and bigots" are directing parts of the Leave campaign.

* Benedict Cumberbatch and Sir Patrick Stewart led more than 280 figures from the arts world who backed a vote to stay. An open letter pledging support for Remain was also signed by music stars Hot Chip, alt-J and Paloma Faith, authors Dame Hilary Mantel and John le Carre, and fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood.

* Physicist Sir Stephen Hawking has come out in favour of staying, saying that "progress comes from co-operation". "By working together in Europe we make our economy stronger and we give ourselves more influence in the world and we provide future opportunities for young people," he said.

* Game Of Thrones actors Daniel Portman, who stars as Podrick Payne in the fantasy series, and Kate Dickie, who played Lysa Arryn, are two of more than 80 prominent members of Scotland's creative sector who argue that Europe has benefited the country artistically and culturally.


* Monty Python star John Cleese signalled he will vote to leave the EU when he tweeted: "If I thought there was any chance of major reform in the EU, I'd vote to stay in. But there isn't. Sad."

* Actor Sir Michael Caine said he is a reluctant Leaver. He said: "I don't know what to vote for. Both are scary. To me, you've now got in Europe a sort of government-by-proxy of everybody, who has now got carried away. Unless there is some extremely significant changes, we should get out."

* David Bailey was one of a number of personalities who loaned their face to a poster urging people to stay in the European Economic Community during the 1975 referendum campaign. But a spokeswoman for Britain's most famous photographer told the Press Association he is going to vote for Brexit.

* Cricketer Sir Ian Botham appeared with former mayor of London Boris Johnson at a Vote Leave event in Chester-le-Street, County Durham. Sir Ian said he felt power has been "eroded by Brussels", adding: "I think, hang on, enough's enough".

* Former England international football star Sol Campbell said he is backing Brexit so that young British sporting talent would be nurtured and given greater opportunities at British clubs. He said: "I'm looking at the sporting side - how youngsters aren't getting the opportunities at some of the big clubs and some of the big clubs are bringing in youngsters from 14, 15, 16 and becoming homegrown, which is pushing some of our youngsters out."

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