John Barnes backs Remain after revealing he was “misrepresented” as supporting Vote Leave
Former England and Liverpool winger, John Barnes has publicly backed Remain after revealing that he was “misrepresented” as a supporter of Vote Leave, adding that he “made it clear” to Michael Gove’s campaign that he did not want Britain to leave the EU.
As recently as today Vote Leave had been making out that the England legend wanted Britain to turn its back on the EU. But in an interview with Sky News this afternoon, Barnes emphatically snubbed the leave campaign and explained why he was passionate about Britain voting to remain.
“I was surprised when I got a text from my son saying Mr Gove has said that I support the Leave campaign, how this happened is that I gave an interview stating that for English footballers that it would be better off being out of the EU, because of course we couldn’t get all of these European players as easily. So it would be better for English footballers.
“That was then misinterpreted as I am supporting the Leave campaign. I got a phone call the very next day, this is about a month ago, saying thank you very much for your support, and I made it categorically clear, speaking from the point of view of English footballers, it will be better off.
“But I do not support the Leave campaign, but that is a very selfish view of just me looking at English football. I think about what is right for the country. I made it plain that I do not support them. I support the Remain. And they said thank you very much, we won’t be contacting you again. That’s why I’m very surprised to hear my name being called in terms of the supporting the Leave campaign.”
Barnes’ declaration sees him included as part of the Stronger In XI of high-profile players backing Remain. You can see the team here: http://ukstronger.in/ssSyyb.
The revelation from Barnes piles on further embarrassment for the Leave campaign after Victoria Beckham today criticised Leave.EU for trying to “put a spin” on a previous interview she gave. In an Instagram post she said:
“In response to the @leave.eu campaign who have today tried to put a spin on quotes made 20 years ago about keeping or losing the pound, I have to say strongly my comments were not about this referendum and should not be misused in this way! I believe in my country, I believe in a future for my children where we are stronger together and I support the #remain campaign @strongerineurope”
A range of high-profile figures have this backed Remain, including:
Adding special agency to the campaign to keep Britain Stronger In Europe. Daniel Craig just sent this photograph. Don’t trust opinion polls. Every single vote matters. Please make time to go to the polls this Thursday. Those who can Vote Remain. #voteIN #voteremain #nomanisanisland #whatislostislostforever #brexit #voteleave #voteout #jamesbond #eureferendum #sayyourein #danielcraig
A personal view by Bear Grylls I am proud to represent a number of different & very inspiring organisations, but on this issue, I speak from the heart and only for myself. I also so respect the right for people to have varying views: that’s a key part of democracy. But the EU Referendum is an issue that really matters & this is why I believe it is important to be open. This referendum has been hard to watch at times but, at heart, this is what I feel: I have travelled all over the world and have noticed, so often, how many of the most vulnerable people look to the UK for character and leadership, as if we are like beacons of good manners and fortitude. Our country’s values and contribution are respected across Europe and beyond; the UK is a trusted friend to so many nations. Those things can get lost in the maze of headlines. 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. History has taught us that together we achieve more. I guess I believe that to help make the future of the world a better place then that future has to be about partnership. As a taxi driver said to me in Paris recently, we really need you, the UK. Don't desert us when times are tough, stand with us like you always have. That rang true. 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. Bear Grylls.
Richard Scudamore and The Premier League:
Burnley Football Club and Sp*rs:
Nearly 50 sports stars and industry figures:
There are lots of people from sport, like Sol Campbell and John Barnes, from the world of entertainment, like Liz Hurley and Michael Caine, but critically from business and manufacturing, people who create jobs, like Anthony Bamford and James Dyson, who think we would be better off if we voted to leave. ~ Michael Gove – Sky News, 21 June
Here is a transcript of the John Barnes –interview with Sky News, 21 June:
Presenter: This afternoon Mr Barnes contacted us at Sky News to say he supports no such view. Let’s talk to him now. We can talk to him live now from our bureau in Johannesburg. Very good to talk to you. What is your view on the EU?
John Barnes: First of all, I’m over obviously here in South Africa where I am working on the Euros, so I was surprised when I got a text from my son saying Mr Gove has said that I support the Leave campaign, how this happened is that I gave an interview stating that for English footballers that it would be better off being out of the EU, because of course we couldn’t get all of these European players as easily. So it would be better for English footballers. That was then misinterpreted as I am supporting the Leave campaign. I got a phone call the very next day, this is about a month ago, saying thank you very much for your support, and I made it categorically clear, speaking from the point of view of English footballers, it will be better off. But I do not support the Leave campaign, but that is a very selfish view of just me looking at English football. I think about what is right for the country. I made it plain that I do not support them. I support the Remain. And they said thank you very much, we won’t be contacting you again. That’s why I’m very surprised to hear my name being called in terms of the supporting the Leave campaign.
Presenter: So what is your message to Mr Gove? Leave me out of this?
John Barnes: I wanted to be left out of it, unfortunately now they brought me back in. I really want to tell people how I do feel about it. Of course, from the point of view of immigration, which that seems to be based on, I have a different view to most people, because when we look at the immigration crisis in the world, which we helped to create in the West, Europe, England helped to create this crisis, why are we now then absolving ourselves of responsibility by saying to Europe, we not concerned with this, this is your problem? Do Germany not take in more immigrants than we do? Do France not take in more immigrants? Now if everybody decided to go their own way, where would the world be? And Britain, if you look at the history of Britain in the past in terms of being the world leaders, from a moral point of you, from a compassionate point of view, looking at people less fortunate than ourselves for the last 400 years and saying we are the leaders, in driving the situation for the world to come together in democracy, in peace, in solidarity, we are the first to jump ship, because now the going gets a bit tough. This is not what, in my opinion, we have been told that is what being British about. It is a very selfish view. I understand the problem we have with immigration. But do we have a worse problem than they do in Germany? in France? In Italy? In Greece? They have a bigger problem, but they are there to try to help it, to come to a solution, by sticking together. I will be surprised, and I’m flabbergasted that Britain was the first to jump ship when the going gets tough. If you look at the problems with immigration. The people who are talking about being undercut by Polish workers for example, that’s nothing to do with immigration, that’s to do with labour laws, that’s do with trade unions. Make it more difficult for these companies to pay the Polish workers less, pay them the same as the English workers but that is nothing to do with immigration. From the immigration point of view, I am supporting Remain because of immigration, because we have a responsibility to help solve a situation that we helped to create in the first place.
Presenter: What is best for your kid’s generation?
John Barnes: Well we are listening to the immigration point of view from the Leave, which I do not agree with, because I think we have a responsibility, now from the economic situation, if we are talking about 95% of independent analysts saying that it is better for us to stay again, I’m not an economist, I know nothing about finances, I’m going with what they say, they may be lying, we do not know. We really don’t know who is telling the truth. So we go with the gut feeling, but I am thinking if independent people are saying it is better off for England to remain from an economic point of view, from that point of view I would be more likely to vote for the remain party, but even on the immigration issue, that is a big thing for me. Because I really believe we have a responsibility. Because in England, we believe, that because we’re isolated, that everybody wants to come to England. We are taking in more immigrants than everybody else. The whole problem with the country is because of immigration. We heard that in the 60s and the 70s when we are talking about black people coming from the Caribbean and taking our jobs, because they are taking all the jobs on the buses and now we’re having the same thing with these immigrants coming in. That is not the situation. You cannot base your vote on that, because that is not true it’s a lie, and secondly, I believe we have a responsibility, we’re talking about Great Britain and Britain being great, because of the last 400 years of our history of showing compassion and showing solidarity. And from a moral point of view, we have a responsibility to help people. It seems that Europe are doing that, yet, the EU has its problems. It has its problems. I’m not happy with the EU on certain things, but in terms of immigration, if Germany decided because of the immigration problems to pull out, and then France and then everybody says because of immigration you cannot base your vote on that. Because it has to be collective responsibility to help us solve the problem. Britain should be the last ones to leave, because of that problem.