EU Referendum

Sir Michael Caine 'sort of certain' UK should quit EU

David Cameron meets Sir Michael Caine Image copyright Getty Images

Veteran actor Sir Michael Caine has told the BBC he "sort of feels certain" that Britain should leave the EU.

He was speaking as David Cameron prepared to meet the Czech prime minister, as part of his efforts to secure a deal on EU reform.

Sir Michael said Brexit was "scary" but he did not like being "dictated to by thousands of faceless civil servants".

Eurosceptics welcomed his backing but pro-EU campaigners claimed he had not decided which way to vote yet.

Prime Minister David Cameron - who joined Sir Michael for an event at the start of the 2010 election campaign - was asked about his comments at a press conference in Prague.

He said: "Everyone will have to make up their own mind about this very important issue for Britain and for Europe."

'Huge fan'

UKIP leader Nigel Farage was among the first to react to Sir Michael's intervention.

Referring to one of Sir Michael's best-known films, The Italian Job, Mr Farage tweeted: "I welcome @themichaelcaine's support for #Brexit. Let's blow the bloody doors off!"

Other Eurosceptic voices, including Conservative MEPs Daniel Hannan and David Campbell Bannerman, tweeted their delight at Sir Michael's comments.

But Will Straw, executive director of Britain Stronger in Europe, said: "Like many people, Michael Caine said he hasn't yet decided which way he'll vote - and like our campaign, he thinks the EU needs reform.

"But people across the UK from all walks of life are backing the UK's place in Europe because they know the benefits outweigh the costs."

Liberal Democrat MEP for South East England, Catherine Bearder, who wants Britain to remain in the EU, tweeted: Hi @the michaelcaine I'm a huge fan and not a faceless bureaucrat! Happy to meet face to face as your elected rep".

Image copyright Other

In an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme about his new film, Youth, Sir Michael was initially reluctant to express a view, saying he was in two minds.

He said: "To me you've now got in Europe a sort of government by proxy of everybody who has now got carried away and I think unless there are some extremely significant changes we should get out.

"Because you'll say, 'Well, we'll fail,' and you'll go, 'Well OK, so you fail. Get better, work harder, try harder and then you'll be a success.'

"But you cannot be dictated to by thousands of faceless civil servants who make these rules and you say, 'Oh, wait a minute, is that right?'

"Then they argue about financially but we buy more from them than we sell to them."

Pressed by interviewer Nick Robinson, he said: "I feel certain we should come out."

Former Conservative leader Lord Howard told the same programme he had some sympathy with Sir Michael, adding that it was "unlikely" the prime minister would get "genuine" reform.

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