Steve Coogan admitted Brexit could have ruined Partridge: ‘I was conflicted’

Election: Steve Coogan slammed over 'stomach-churning' views

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Alan Partridge, Mr Coogan’s famous fictional character, has returned to screens with the new series, ‘This Time with Alan Partridge’. Far from his radio roots, we see Partridge having made it to the big time, working as the co-host of a popular television programme similar to Good Morning Britain and The One Show. Mr Coogan has, to the disbelief of many, managed to sustain a character who has spanned three decades – half his life.

When the Brexit result was announced, he made no secret of his disgust and disbelief.

The problem, he told many publications, was that Partridge would have been a Brexit voter.

He told the Radio Times that his despair was so strong that he felt “conflicted” about acting out Partridge’s dream; that the UK had left the EU.

He said: “The world has coalesced into a situation that is sympathetic to Alan, which for me is quite depressing.

“Sometimes I agree with Alan, but on Brexit I’m a Remainer, and I feel quite conflicted about it.”

However, he added: “But the fact is, having a fool praise something is a far more powerful indictment than just criticising it.

“Also, Alan can be like the boy who says the emperor’s wearing no clothes.”

After Brexit, Mr Coogan became politically outspoken, sparking fury during an appearance on Channel 4 News in 2019 shortly before the General Election.

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Presenter Cathy Newman asked him what Partridge would make of the election, to which Mr Coogan replied: “Alan Partridge is ill-informed and ignorant, therefore he is a Conservative and a Brexiteer.”

James Johnson, the show’s other guest, and a former special advisor to Theresa May, quickly stepped in and stood up for the millions of Britons who had voted to leave the EU.

He said: “I don’t want to cause a fight with Steve Coogan.

“This is exactly the attitude that means these long-term Labour voters, who are good people, are leaving the Labour Party and going to the Conservatives.

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“People like Steve and people in the Twitter bubble and London bubble are calling them stupid.”

Ms Newman added: “Celebrities patronising people and telling them to vote is a little bit stomach-churning, isn’t it?”

In an attempt to defend himself, Mr Coogan said: “Well, I could say nothing, but the fact is if you make a difference or you can say anything that will help influence the election, I think you’re honour bound to do that.

“As we’ve seen, plenty of Tories are deserting the Tory Party at the moment because it’s a party they don’t recognise.”

In a later interview, Mr Coogan revealed that he planned to ditch the Labour Party and vote for what he viewed as the country’s only hope: the Liberal Democrats.

At the time, they were the only main party at the time that promised to reverse the Brexit result without a referendum.

However, like Labour, the Lib Dems suffered a resounding defeat.

Jo Swinson, the party’s leader, lost her seat to the Scottish National Party.

Mr Coogan later gave his verdict on why he believed Labour had performed so badly.

In an interview with NME, he said: “I think there was a confused message on Brexit.

“I think the press didn’t help – they demonised him.

“I don’t think he was particularly charismatic, I don’t think he wanted the job in the first place.

“I think if you asked people who didn’t want to vote for Corbyn which of his policies they didn’t like, they wouldn’t have been able to tell you, so to me it was actually a personality thing.”

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