James O’Brien demolishes Leave voter in farcical on-air standoff

'Well, look we used to own three thirds of the world,' says caller

James O'Brien proves just how stubborn one Brexiteer is over the EU

James O’Brien has made a name for himself for vociferously clashing with members of the public over Brexit during his LBC phone-ins.

The journalist, who is also a presenter on Newsnight, engaged in yet another heated debate with a Leave voter on Monday.

After the caller, who was from Chelmsford, insisted Brexit was fundamentally about migration rather than the economy, O’Brien pointed out Britain was capable of changing their borders under EU law but had simply not chosen to do so.

“I believe it’s not about economics, it’s solely about migration and if there is small downturn then that’s a small price to pay for controlling your own borders and making your own laws,” the caller, who referred to himself just as Wayne, said.

“And when you have it explained to you that under European law it’s perfectly permissible to deport people from other European Union countries if they fail to find work after three months or if they can’t prove they’ve got sufficient capital to sustain their lifestyle," O’Brien interjected.

The talk show host drew attention to the fact that in Belgium EU citizens have just three months to show evidence they have found a job or they will be removed from the country.

He added: "The obvious reason British governments haven’t implemented that policy is because it would cost far more to impose that policy than we would gain because EU immigrants are net contributors to the UK economy.”

The caller then went on to suggest a visa system for EU residents coming on holiday to Britain.

After O’Brien questioned how that would work if he himself wanted to go on holiday to France, he insisted he did not want to visit the country, saying: “I don’t know. I don’t really want to go to France.”

The row then descended into farce, with the caller claiming that Britain used to own “three-thirds of the world” and O’Brien pointing out three-thirds was “the whole world mate”.

The dispute drew to a close with O’Brien concluding that the caller’s views were proof that Vince Cable’s recent assertion Britain would never leave the European Union had no basis. Over the weekend, the next Lib Dem leader argued the British public would reconsider exiting the European bloc if they saw a drop in living standards and rise in unemployment.

O'Brien said: “And that’s the point - when I say what does Vince Cable miss, he misses the existence of people like you who don’t want to go to France and think that’s a political position".

This is just one of many embarrassing and awkward on-air encounters O’Brien has had with Leave voters. Last year, a caller who wanted to leave the EU so the UK could take “control of our own laws” was left red-faced after he failed to name a single EU law he was most keen to get rid of.

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