Blog: Ian Botham’s brilliant Brexit outburst to silence whinging Remainers: ‘Lets get competing’ – Daily Express

The legendary cricketer, regarded by many as England’s greatest ever player, will return to screens tonight for the second episode of Channel 5’s Fishing Scotland’s Lochs and Rivers. Affectionately known as Beefy, Mr Botham wowed audiences across the Seventies and Eighties with his flamboyant batting and pacy bowling, with his abilities appearing to peak in 1981. That year Mr Botham shone as England won The Ashes against Australia – the all-rounder picking up the Man of the Series award following his 399 runs, 34 wickets and 12 catches.

On the new show, Mr Botham will be joined by presenter Fern Britton, former sprinter Linford Christie, comedian Les Dennis and TV chef Rosemary Shrager.

Among the challenges the quintet are set to face include fishing near Loch Tay, which comes after their exploits last week where they travelled from the east of Scotland to Auchmithie beach to enjoy smoked fish in barrels.

But away from the world of celebrity, Mr Botham has become outspoken about British politics, and was a key voice in the Leave campaign’s bid to see the UK quit Brussels.

Such was his influence, Prime Minister Boris Johnson later recommended the 65-year-old for a peerage, and he now sits in the House of Lords.

And in the aftermath of Leave’s victory in 2016, Mr Botham demanded the UK sort its act out and hit the Brexit button to trigger the UK’s departure.

In a brilliant take-down of Remainer complaints, Mr Botham outlined his pride of when the UK “took back control of our laws, trade and borders”.

He noted that, after Brexit, nations such as the US, India and China were queuing up to strike trade deals with the UK, and that it was time to start negotiating.

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He wrote in the Daily Mirror at the time: “Theresa May’s visit to India last week showed the close links that already exist and which will be hugely strengthened as we go global following Brexit.

“The only thing stopping us achieving our potential is confidence. We need to believe in ourselves and our capabilities.”

The combined might of the US, China and India, Mr Botham argued, represented an “export market worth £17trillion”.

And he condemned those looking to fight the result, continuing: “If the referendum had been a General Election, Leave would have won a landslide majority of 166 seats! No ifs, no buts!

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“Voters like me just want the Government to get on with it. Let’s trigger Article 50 and negotiate an amicable, sensible split.

“The sooner we get that behind us, the quicker we can start doing trade deals with the likes of India and America.”

He added: “The referendum result marks a milestone in British history. The people believe Britain is still a world-beater.

“They’re right. Let’s get out there and start competing again.”

In the build-up to Brexit, Mr Botham became more outspoken about the UK’s place in the EU, arguing that “England is an island” and that he felt “we should keep that”.

He appeared at a series of pro-Leave campaign events, and became close to Mr Johnson – one of the group’s key figureheads in the debate.

Fishing Scotland’s Lochs and Rivers airs tonight at 7pm on Channel 5.

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