Brian Cox backlash after branding Brexit ‘self-indulgence from another age’: 'Shelve it!'

Prof Cox returns to screens in ‘Universe’ tonight on BBC Two at 9pm. Ten years on from his BBC series Wonders of the Universe, the physicist takes the audience on a journey through parts of the universe we didn’t know existed a decade ago. The show reveals the universe’s many awe-inspiring wonders and recreates dramatic moments that defined the Earth’s destiny.

Prof Cox says the universe is “so vast, so incomprehensible, so terrifying, that I think it’s natural for us to live out our lives completely oblivious to it.”

The first episode centres around stars, and follows the Parker Solar probe, the first spacecraft to ‘touch’ the sun and experience its atmosphere up close.

Away from science, Prof Cox, who is considered in some quarters to be the natural heir to the BBC’s David Attenborough and Patrick Moore, has voiced concerns about Brexit on a number of occasions. 

In March 2020, the Remainer attracted criticism after he called on Brexit to be “shelved.“

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Describing the Leave vote as a “self indulgence from another age”, the professor said Brexit should be “shelved for an indefinite period” as the scale of COVID-19 became apparent. 

He wrote: “Brexit is self-indulgence from another age. 

“It should be shelved for an indefinite period until we have dealt with the long-term economic and social fallout of COVID-19.

“There can be no justification for imposing a second, voluntary shock on the country in early 2021.”

@Joneplowman also said: “EU self-indulgance for the wealthy.”

Upon receiving the backlash Prof Cox stressed that the language used in his first tweet was “lazy”.

He tweeted: “My language is lazy in the above tweet. Let me clear it up.

“Brexit has happened so we can’t go back ‒ no point arguing about that.

“What we should do (and surely will) is to extend the transition until we’ve dealt with the pandemic and its aftermath ‒ focus on the task at hand.”

Prof Cox had previously been ardently against Brexit, telling the Irish News in 2017 that he felt it was a “weakening of our interaction with our neighbouring countries” and that “it cannot be the right trajectory.”

The University of Manchester academic was also vocal in his support for a People’s Vote on the issue, tweeting in June 2018: “If [a People’s Vote were] held on known exit terms and leave commanded majority, I’d back it as a settled, informed decision.

“That’s my argument for having one.”

Watch ‘Universe’ on BBC Two at 9pm.

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