John Cleese says he is leaving UK and moving to Caribbean in protest over 'awful' Brexit debate

Monty Python comic says frustration also stems from ‘lying and triviality’ of British newspapers

Maya Oppenheim
Wednesday 11 July 2018 17:33 BST
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Cleese says he plans to move to the small island of Nevis, which has a population of just 11,000
Cleese says he plans to move to the small island of Nevis, which has a population of just 11,000

Monty Python star John Cleese has announced he is moving to the Caribbean in the autumn in protest over the debate on Brexit.

The 78-year-old comic – a long-time Liberal Democrat supporter – said his frustration also stemmed from the “lying and triviality” of British newspapers.

Cleese told BBC2’s Newsnight he was moving to the small island of Nevis which has a population of just 11,000 in November – describing it as “one of the nicest islands” he had ever visited.

The actor, who co-founded iconic comedy troupe Monty Python before going on to co-write and star in the sitcom Fawlty Towers, argued the standard of debate around Brexit was “awful”.

“I’m leaving in November. I actually am leaving. I am making arrangements now,” he said. “I am so disappointed with so much about this country at the moment and I just think so much of this country is disappointing.”

The actor, who backed Leave in the 2016 EU referendum, said the quality of debate around Brexit was “one of the most depressing things about this country”.

He said: “There were dreadful lies on the right about all the money that would come into the National Health Service”.

On the other side of the debate, he claimed Remainers such as David Cameron and George Osborne employed scare tactics.

“Very few people have any idea of what’s actually going to happen. Why’s everyone so passionate when they can’t possibly know what the outcome is?” he asked.

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Cleese, who turned down a life peerage for political services in 1999, has been an outspoken supporter of electoral and press reform.

He voiced his disappointment that both proportional representation and the second phase of the Leveson Inquiry into press standards had been “kicked out by right-wing governments”.

“I just thought to myself: ‘Right I’ll just give up and try somewhere else’,” he said.

Explaining his “particular beef” was with newspapers, he showed Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis figures from an EU report claiming Britain had the lowest level of trust in the printed media.

Talking about his new home, he said: “It’s one of the nicest islands I’ve ever been on. The relationship between the races is absolutely superb. The people there are really kind.”

The literacy rate of Nevis is 98 per cent – one of the highest in the western hemisphere. Nevis and the neighbouring island of Saint Kitts constitute one country.

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