Nicky Campbell admitted family rows over Brexit ‘get full on’: ‘Dreading Christmas lunch’

Nicky Campbell jokes that 5 Live guest has ‘scared’ him

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Mr Campbell is a well-known BBC presenter, having worked with Radio 5 Live for close to two decades. He currently hosts the Breakfast show on 5 Live with fellow broadcaster Rachel Burden, along with Your Call, a programme where listeners phone in with their thoughts on the big stories of the week. After the EU referendum result was announced, he was one of the few public figures to say he was not surprised when Britain voted to leave the bloc.

Writing in The New Statesman, he said: “Our station, more than any other, is in touch with our audience because listeners getting in touch with us is our lifeblood.”

However, Mr Campbell did reveal that he struggled to deal with the furious debate that followed when it entered his family home.

While in conversation with Ms Burden, he admitted that he was not feeling much festive cheer back in December 2018.

He said: “I am slightly dreading Christmas lunch. We have got my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and there are going to be two people at the table who are diametrically opposed on Brexit.

“It comes up and every time it comes up I have to go, ‘No! No! We’re not having that’, because it inevitably gets pretty full on.

“I’m sure there are lots of families up and down the country like that.

“We need to set our differences to one side for Christmas and play football between the trenches.”

Mr Campbell found support among Radio 5 Live listeners, who also struggled to cope with the constant debate between Remainers and Brexiteers.

One caller said: “I’m with Nicky on this one, the worst thing about Christmas is definitely family.

“I’m telling everyone who comes to mine this Christmas that Brexit is off the menu of topics.

“Anyone who utters a word puts a pound in a jar.”

Another listener chimed in and said: “When the booze flows people can get braver with their views.

“I think everyone should make a pact not to talk about Brexit at the Christmas table.

“We all deserve one day off it.”

Fifty-two percent of the electorate voted to leave the EU back in 2016 — and at the time, Mr Campbell wrote in the New Statesman that Brexiteers were “insurgents”.

He explained: “Before polling day most of the fire and fury came from the Brexiteers.

“They were insurgents. They were storming the Bastille.”

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The 48 percent who voted to remain in the bloc then became locked in debate with Brexiteers for years.

At the time of Mr Campbell’s comments, Theresa May was still the Prime Minister and her proposed withdrawal agreement was causing divisions up and down the country.

It was repeatedly rejected in Parliament, but EU leaders told Mrs May that it could not be re-negotiated.

Earlier that year, Boris Johnson had resigned as Mrs May’s Foreign Secretary after saying her Brexit plan “sticks in the throat”.

Then in 2019, Mrs May announced that she was stepping down as Prime Minister.

Mr Johnson was elected as her replacement to lead the Conservative Party, meaning he also inherited her seat in No.10 Downing Street.

However, he held a general election in December 2019 and won a landslide victory which gave him a thumping majority in the Commons.

Mr Johnson’s success enabled him to get the withdrawal agreement through, and the UK celebrated Brexit Day on January 31 2020.

Britain then entered a transition period, before Downing Street struck an eleventh-hour deal with Brussels on Christmas Eve.

It meant that when the UK left the transition period on December 31, it had a trade agreement with the bloc.

Although this trade deal was great news for Britain, Christmas this year was a significantly more subdued affair due to lockdown measures.

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