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Billy Connolly branded 'con-job' Brexit 'nuts' over belief public 'didn't understand' EU

Billy Connolly discusses Parkinson’s and cancer diagnoses

The Scottish entertainer, 78, savoured 60 years as a stand-up comedian before announcing his retirement last year. He said symptoms of Parkinson’s disease prevented him from being able to “think as sharply” as he needed to perform. Sir Billy, who was knighted four years ago, has often stayed away from politics, believing he could influence people, but weighed in on Brexit a number of times. 
Sir Billy referred to the nation’s decision to leave the EU as a “disaster” and thought “breaking up” the bloc was “a crime bordering on a sin”.

After previously stating he would not vote in the Scottish independence referendum nor make his opinions known, he supported the SNP’s calls.

In the BBC Scotland documentary Billy and Us last year, he said: “I think a Scottish republic is as good an idea as any I’ve ever heard.”

Sir Billy was surprised he became a supporter of Scottish independence because he considered himself an “Anglophile”.

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Billy Connolly slammed Prime Minister as a ‘f***ing softboy’ during an anti-Brexit rant (Image: GETTY / SKY NEWS)

BILLY CONNOLLY BREXIT NEWS EU SCOTLAND UK VOTE TV

Billy Connolly has often been against Scottish Independence but in Brexit’s wake supported it (Image: GETTY)

In his 2018 book Made In Scotland, he wrote: “I never thought I would say that.”

The comedian confessed he didn’t “trust nationalism in any of its guises”.

However, in the wake of Brexit – where 1.6 million people, 62 percent of the nation, voted Remain – Sir Billy felt Scottish independence was the right move.

Sir Billy said: “The most important thing for Scotland is to keep our contact with Europe. 

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Billy Connolly announced his retirement from stand-up comedy last year after six decades performing (Image: ITV)

“If the only way for us to do that is to become independent from England, that may just be the way to go.”

The comedian previously tempered his remarks about becoming a republic by stating: “I didn’t think it was wise to.”

Sir Billy added: “As an Anglophile, I’ve never shouted for independence but I might be changing my mind now.”

In a 2018 Daily Record interview, where Sir Billy called Brexit a “crime”, he said:  “I think the more people are together, not separate, the happier they will be.”

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Express.co.uk explain Labour Leader Keir Starmer’s opinions on Brexit (Image: EXPRESS)

He felt Brexit would lead to Scottish independence because the majority of the nation voted Remain. 

In the 2016 EU referendum, 52 percent of the UK voted Leave and more than 46.5 million people cast their ballot.

England and Wales overwhelmingly voted for Brexit, by 53.4 percent and 52.5 percent respectively.

Scotland and Northern Ireland voted Remain by 62 percent and 55.8 percent.

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Billy Connolly described himself as an ‘Anglophile’ and was against Scottish Independence for years (Image: GETTY)

In 2019, when Sir Billy was asked whether he was interested in US politics, he said: “We kept away from all that madness.”

However, he took a firm swipe at Prime Minister Boris Johnson during an interview with The Observer.

Sir Billy said: “Talk about Trump, though, look who you’ve got now over here!”

He then referred to Mr Johnson as a “f***ing soft boy”.

Sir Billy reportedly said he was “relieved” to be “a few thousand miles away from Brexit”.

Billy Connolly jokes about Parkinson’s during drug discussion

He continued: “What a con! And the Prime Minister was the biggest con of all.”

Sir Billy was concerned about the decision to vote to leave the EU because he felt the public didn’t understand it.

His beliefs stemmed from watching people in south Wales being interviewed on a US TV channel.

Sir Billy noted: “How pleased they were to have voted out of Europe.”

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Billy Connolly spoke out to Sky News after the launch of a gallery to celebrate decades in comedy (Image: SKY NEWS)

However, he claimed the interviewees seemed a little uneasy after they were told about the benefits of the EU.

Sir Billy recalled: “Then they showed all the things that the EU had funded in their town.” 

He said the individuals “had no idea” about the money pumped into their local area and called it “completely nuts”.

Sir Billy’s concerns over Brexit led him to support calls for Scottish independence.

When asked if being a republic was a good idea last year, he told Herald Scotland: “If Scotland would like it, I would like it.”

Billy Connolly sniped Scottish nationalists as he declared: ‘I hate all tartan b******s’

Billy Connolly discusses Parkinson’s and cancer diagnoses

The beloved comedian, known as ‘The Big Yin’, shocked fans when he announced his retirement from stand-up performances two months ago. Sir Billy, 78, was known for his comedic observations on stage and frequent use of swear words. And the TV star, who was born in Glasgow, weighed in on the Scottish independence debate and admitted he “hated” nationalists.

Prior to the referendum seven years ago, Sir Billy vowed that he would not vote because he feared influencing the public due to his celebrity status.

He also refused to participate in debates about Scottish independence and admitted in general, he “tried to keep away from it all”.

Sir Billy justified his abstinence by stating “a lot of people take your world like it’s spun gold” and don’t care whether there’s “some sense to it” or not.

He told the BBC: “I don’t want to influence anybody so I shut up.

Billy Connolly took a swipe at Scottish nationalists during Scottish independence debate (Image: GETTY)

Billy Connolly was known as ‘The Big Yin’, meaning ‘the big one’, during his comedy career (Image: GETTY)

“I think the Scots will come to a good conclusion in the referendum, they will get what they deserve.”

More than two million people, around 55 percent of the nation, voted to remain as part of the UK, in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum

Around 44 percent, approximately 1.6 million, voted for the nation to become an independent country.

However, Sir Billy appeared to have changed his mind after the 2016 EU referendum, which saw 52 percent of the public vote Leave.

He blasted Brexit as a “disaster” and mourned “the breaking up of the togetherness of Europe”.

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The financial impact of Scottish independence (Image: EXPRESS)

In 2018, Sir Billy told the Daily Record that Brexit was “a crime bordering on a sin”.

He hoped Scotland would “keep our contact with Europe” and warned that departing from the bloc could encourage a second Scottish referendum.

Sir Billy said: “Scots voted to stay in Europe, and if the only way for us to do that is to become independent from England [then] that may just be the way to go.”

The star, who is a self-professed Anglophile, admitted: “I never thought I would say that.”

Sir Billy revealed that he “never had any interest in hating England and the English”, which influenced his opposition to Scottish independence.

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Billy Connolly announced his retirement from stand-up comedy last year due to Parkinson’s disease (Image: ITV)

He said: “As an Anglophile, I have never shouted for Scottish independence, but I might be changing my mind now.”

Last year, Sir Billy seemed more certain that breaking away from the UK to become a separate country was a good idea.

He told the Daily Record: “I think a Scottish republic is as good an idea as I’ve ever heard.

“But I don’t represent anybody or anything and I don’t think it is wise to.”

Scottish independence referendum found 55 percent of the nation against breaking away from the UK (Image: GETTY)

While Sir Billy seemed supportive of Scottish independence, he took a firm stance against Scottish nationalism.

He said he “never liked nationalism in any of its guises” and stated: “I don’t like Scottish nationalism very much.”

Sir Billy claimed it was “based on a loose idea about politics” and that he considered himself a “utopian socialist”.

He said: “I am Scottish but that’s not all I am and I hate all that tartan b******s.”

Billy Connolly jokes about Parkinson’s during drug discussion

Sir Billy, who has been pictured wearing tartan on multiple occasions, distanced himself from nationalism further.

He claimed he would “never let” himself be “put into a box marked ‘working class’ or ‘Scottish’ or anything else”.

Sir Billy believed those titles could “limit who you are or what you can say”.

He explained that it was “the easiest trap in the world” to become “a professional Scot” and he preferred not to be listed as Scottish.

Billy Connolly was a close friend of Robin Williams, who took his own life in 2014 (Image: GETTY)

Sir Billy said: “It can happen not only to comedians and singers but to writers and artists.

“You become a Scottish artist as opposed to an artist, I suppose it is the same when you are Welsh or Irish.”

He claimed that “doesn’t seem to happen” to people from England.

Sir Billy said: “No one ever says ‘that English artist’ or ‘that English comedian’ – the accent gives you this incredibly strong identity.”

Sir Billy Connolly: Made In Scotland airs at 9pm tonight on BBC Two.

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