Sir Michael Caine favours EU exit unless major reforms are made

Sir Michael Caine. Picture: PASir Michael Caine. Picture: PA
Sir Michael Caine. Picture: PA
Sir Michael Caine believes Britain should leave the EU unless there are 'extremely significant' reforms.

The veteran actor said the consequences of a so-called Brexit were “scary” but so were those of being “dictated to by thousands of faceless civil servants”.

Asked which camp he would back in the in/out referendum, he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “I don’t know what to vote for. Both are scary.

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“To me, you’ve now got in Europe a sort of government-by-proxy of everybody, who has now got carried away.

“Unless there is some extremely significant changes, we should get out.”

Pressed on his preference, he said: “I sort of feel certain we should come out.”

Pro-EU campaigners might be right that Britain could “fail” outside the EU, he suggested, but insisted the country would recover.

“Well, OK, so you fail. Get better, work harder, try harder and you’ll be a success.

“But you cannot be dictated to by thousands of faceless civil servants who make these rules.

“Then they argue about it financially but we buy more from them than we sell to them.”

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Sir Michael, who has said in the past that he has no fixed party allegiance and voted for Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and David Cameron, said his rise from a working-class background to Hollywood millionaire gave him a rare perspective.

“I’m a middle-of-the-road politician. I have been poor, I have been on the dole, I have worked in factories and I am a multi-millionaire, I have paid heavy taxes. So I know every problem from every angle and not many people are like that.

“The last time I queued up for benefits, Sean Connery was two guys in front of me.”

Sir Michael also weighed in on the row over the underrepresentation of black figures in the Oscars, saying black actors should not be nominated only for the sake of diversifying the Academy Awards.

Hollywood heavyweights Spike Lee and Will Smith are boycotting the Academy Awards after no actors from ethnic minorities were nominated in the top four categories but Sir Michael told Nick Robinson on Radio 4’s Today show that it could not become a box-ticking exercise.

He said: “There’s loads of black actors. In the end you can’t vote for an actor because he’s black. You can’t say ‘I’m going to vote for him, he’s not very good, but he’s black, I’ll vote for him’.”

He continued: “You have to give a good performance and I’m sure people have. I saw Idris Elba (in Beasts Of No Nation)... I thought he was wonderful.”

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The two-time Academy Award-winner offered the advice to black actors to “be patient”.

“Of course it will come. It took me years to get an Oscar, years,” he added.

Sir Michael also pointed out the bright side of an Oscars snub.

“The best thing about it is you don’t have to go. Especially the Oscars, 24 hours on an aeroplane and I’ve got to sit there clapping Leonardo DiCaprio.

“I love Leonardo, he played my son in a movie, but I’m too old to travel that far and sit in an audience and clap someone else,” he said.

After returning from acting retirement because “I couldn’t find a television show I wanted to watch everyday”, Sir Michael is starring in new film Youth and has filmed bank heist movie Going In Style with Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin.

He admitted that he had dismissed taking on another movie again as he approached his 83rd birthday, but would love to film the story of the Hatton Garden burglary alongside Ray Winstone.

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“I would do it, yeah, if the script was good. If I was starting that script it would begin extremely funny and then become extremely sinister because those guys are not funny guys, they’re serious criminals. It’s sort of comedy gets Jack Carter in the end,” he said.