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David Attenborough felt EU 'did not pay enough attention' to Britain before Brexit


David Attenborough warns world leaders about climate change

The naturalist has spent nearly seven decades at the BBC and fronted many of the nation’s favourite wildlife shows. In recent years, Sir David has warned of the impending dangers posed by climate change. But in a series of blunt statements, the documentarian weighed-in on the Brexit debate.

Sir David, who returns to screens this weekend on Attenborough’s Life In Colour, spoke out about the problems before Brexit.

Nearly five years ago, the historic EU referendum concluded with 52 percent of the public in favour of leaving the bloc.

While Sir David did not reveal whether he voted Leave or Remain, he did seem to understand the frustrations of the public.

When asked about whether he was a Brexiteer, he replied: “There had to be a change, one way or another.”

Sir David felt the EU had allowed itself to do things that “irritated” people in member states.

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH BREXIT EU EUROPEAN UNION UK TV

David Attenborough spoke out about the European Union (EU) in a rare interview (Image: GETTY)

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH BREXIT EU EUROPEAN UNION UK TV

David Attenborough has spent nearly seven decades at the BBC (Image: GETTY)

In 2019, he told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica: “I think that [there is] irritation [from] the ways in which the European community has interfered.”

Sir David explained that it had “interfered with people’s lives on silly levels”.

He believed the public took affront to “silly issues” and that had left them uncertain about the benefits of the EU.

Sir David continued: “[It] has irritated a lot of people who 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 returns to TV screens this weekend with Attenborough’s Life In Colour (Image: GETTY)

He argued that the public were “fed up” with an overseas group deciding laws that would affect the UK – and other member states.

Sir David claimed the language barrier may have been a problem for some people too.

He suggested some people may have grown tired of everyday frustrations – such as being told “how much money they have got to charge for tomatoes”.

Sir David believed “something silly” like that could have turned people against the EU.

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DAVID ATTENBOROUGH BREXIT EU EUROPEAN UNION UK TV

The Brexit timeline (Image: EXPRESS)

He also believed that the bloc had not concentrated on the smaller things cared about by members.

Sir David said: “Maybe the European Union didn’t pay enough attention.”

He explained that they could have ignored the “sorts of things that members…care about”.

Sir David continued: “[The EU] has allowed themselves to do all sorts of things which irritate the members.”

After the 2016 referendum, Sir David was reported to have “expressed his sadness” at the prospect of leaving the EU, according to the Guardian.

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When asked about how Brexit could affect the environment, he said: “That is sad.”

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He seemed concerned that certain wildlife protections could be removed once the UK left the EU.

Sir David noted that swallows, migrant birds “and so on” were “not members of the union” but may be affected by its decisions.

He said: “One just hopes that collaboration on these issues, conservation issues, will transcend political divisions.”

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH BREXIT EU EUROPEAN UNION UK TV

Labour leader Keir Starmer’s record on Brexit (Image: Express)

Previously, Sir David was concerned that Brexit had already taken too much time to discuss on the international stage.

He feared that “hideous” environmental problems were being ignored due to talks about leaving the bloc.

Sir David described how the UK and the rest of the world were “occupied with these silly squabbles about Brexit”.

He also raised concern about facism, as witnessed in the Thirties and Forties.

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH BREXIT EU EUROPEAN UNION UK TV

David Attenborough was concerned that wildlife could suffer as a result of Brexit (Image: GETTY)

Sir David feared the public were “losing reason” and “becoming enraged”.

He hoped that they would remember the “lunacy that overtook Europe” during that period of time.

Sir David said: “We had German Jewish refugees living in our house throughout the war.

“When I see mobs… mobs of people are a very, very ugly sight.”

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





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