In the great Brexit debate former soccer star David Beckham has come out for Remain while a furious row has erupted between his wife Victoria and a prominent Leave campaign group.
The ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid player said Europe is a team and it needs to play together in order to succeed. However, the Leave.EU campaign group immediately seized on the announcement by highlighting that Ms Beckham criticised “bureaucrats” in Brussels when she was in the Spice Girls.
However, Ms Beckham hit back and accused the group of “misusing” comments she made 20 years ago in relation to the UK possibly joining the single currency.
Mr Beckham said: “I played my best years at my boyhood club, Manchester United. I grew up with a core group of young British players that included Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, and the Neville brothers. Added to that was an experienced group of older British players such as Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce and Paul Ince.
“Now that team might have gone on to win trophies but we were a better and more successful team because of a Danish goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel, the leadership of an Irishman, Roy Keane, and the skill of a Frenchman in Eric Cantona.
“I was also privileged to play and live in Madrid, Milan, and Paris with team-mates from all around Europe and the world.
“Those great European cities and their passionate fans welcomed me and my family and gave us the opportunity to enjoy their unique and inspiring cultures and people.
“We live in a vibrant and connected world where together as a people we are strong. For our children and their children, we should be facing the problems of the world together and not alone. For these reasons I am voting to Remain.”
In a Spice Girls interview with The Spectator magazine published in 1996, Victoria Beckham was asked about the prospect of the UK joining the euro.
She reportedly said: “The Euro bureaucrats are destroying every bit of national identity and individuality. Let me give you an example. Those new passports are revolting, an insult to our kingdom, our independence. We must keep our national individuality.”
Leave.EU posted part of the quote on its Twitter page with the comment “should’ve listened to the missus, David”.
However, Ms Beckham has accused Leave.EU of trying to “put a spin on quotes made 20 years ago about keeping or losing the pound”.
She posted on her Instagram page: “I have to say strongly my comments were not about this referendum and should not be misused in this way! I believe in my country, I believe in a future for my children where we are stronger together and I support the Remain campaign.”
Leave.EU said Ms Beckham’s original comments were “absolutely clear”.
The group said in a press release: “We quoted her in her own words on the EU seems that she can also Bend the facts like Beckham.”
Mr Beckham’s announcement was welcome by David Cameron while its significance was downplayed by leading Leave campaigner Boris Johnson.
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