Jeremy Paxman has revealed that he voted Remain in the recent European Referendum.
The former Newsnight inquisitor-in-chief told the Cheltenham Literature Festival: “I did vote Remain and I very nearly didn’t. Because there is a huge democratic deficit in the European Union and people really don’t like being told what to do by others they cannot get rid of. That’s a key thing in democracy.”
“I dislike many thing about the European Union. But when it came to vote I thought that there’s a lot wrong with this institution but it’s the only thing we’ve got. And therefore we should stick with it and try and change it.”
However he was critical of former Prime Minister David Cameron in calling the vote.
“I think [David] Cameron made a very bad mistake by calling it. A very bad mistake and I think he acted, to be honest with you, irresponsibly, in calling it and then not being prepared to make the case for it. There are many things I really loathe about the European Union. I think there is a big sovereignty issue.
“But at no time during the campaign did I hear anybody really eminent in political circles make the idealistic case for the European Union…. They just tried to frighten us. And that was a mistake and I think Cameron was irresponsible. To put the interests of the country secondary to the congeniality that you seek within your party, I think that’s pretty cheap.”
Paxman said he did not vote in the 2010 General Election, writing in Radio Times that he found political parties “unappetising” and he was tired of “tawdry pretences”.
At Cheltenham, Paxman added that he agreed with the view that the BBC has a liberal bias.
“If you asked me what the politics of most people at the BBC are I should say most people voted Remain, that most people were Labour/Liberal Democrat. I should say that by and large they were liberal with a small ‘l’ on social issues. I should say that they were people who detested certain kinds of right wing behaviour.”