‘It’s not perfect, but we’re better together in the European Union’.
That was the message from comedian Eddie Izzard on the latest stop of his EU referendum tour encouraging young people to sign up and register to vote by June 7.
Izzard, a famous alumni in the early 1980s at Sheffield University, was back at his former campus speaking to students and answering questions on the upcoming EU referendum.
The comedian, who is backing Britain to stay in the EU, said coming back to Sheffield was like a ‘homecoming’.
“A united hope is what brings us together,” he said.
“The European Union was set up to stop us murdering each other. We stopped that after 1945 and there have been no wars bar one.
I accept fully there’s too much bureaucracy. It’s not perfect by any stretch but if you want change stay in
“But above all that, the economy. Places like Sheffield would see a hit on its economic wellbeing.
“All the experts in the world say if we pull out then we’ll go into a recession. They say Brexit is synonymous with recession.”
The self-proclaimed ‘passionate European’ said the EU wasn’t perfect but staying inside the bloc was the best way of changing its functions and practices.
Being outside the EU, Mr Izzard said Britain would have a ‘smaller’ role on the world stage.
“I accept fully there’s too much bureaucracy. It’s not perfect by any stretch, but if you want change stay in,” he said.
“I say to those who dislike the EU that we have to stay in and change it from the inside.”
Immigration is a key issue in the referendum, and Izzard said EU migrants had benefitted the economy by ‘propping up’ the NHS and contributing to taxes.
“There are two million of our citizens within other EU countries and yes, there’s people coming in but it’s the package we’ve signed up for.
“If we want the economic benefits of being inside the EU then we’ve got with it free movement of people, goods, services and capital.
“Some communities are having a tough time with immigration, and I can understand that, but this is a time of economic crisis and EU immigration has benefited our economy hugely.”
Despite dropping out of his university course early, Mr Izzard said Sheffield still held a ‘special place’ for him.
“The people of Sheffield are just fantastic. Things like people giving you bus fare when you’re short and just having a positive upbeat attitude.
“The place is a big part of my life – it’s like a home city.
“It was a culture shock at first, being from the south, but I love it up here.”