Cleese: 'London's not English any more'

Comic echoes Nick Griffin

John Cleese has claimed London is ‘no longer an English city’.

In an interview on Australian TV, the Fawlty Towers star said the ‘parent [ie British] culture’ had all-but vanished from the streets of the capital.

Interviewed to promote a show at Sydney Opera House, 71-year-old Cleese was asked about last month’s riots. He replied: ‘I'm not sure what's going on in Britain... I don't know what's going on in London.

‘Because London is no longer an English city, and that's how they got the Olympics. I mean, they said, "We're the most cosmopolitan city on Earth," but it doesn't feel English.

‘I had a Californian friend come over two months ago, walk down the Kings Road and said to me, "Well where are all the English people?" And, I mean, I love having different cultures around, but when the parent culture kind of dissipates, you're left thinking, "Well, what's going on?”

His comments exactly echo the sentiments of BNP leader Nick Griffin who called London ‘a city that is no longer British’ after his appearance on Question Time two years ago.

It is not the first time Cleese has made such comments, saying very much the same thing in a Sunday Telegraph interview in April, explaining why he lived in Bath.

His new remarks were immediately seized upon by anti-immigration campaigners.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: ‘John Cleese has said what an increasing number of people in London are thinking.’

Alp Mehmet, vice-chairman of MigrationWatch, said: ‘John Cleese is an astute man. London is not the city I knew as a child and it saddens me that many of the unwelcome developments have largely been the result of mass and rapid migration.’

Mehmet himself arrived in Britain from Cyprus in 1956 when he was aged eight.

Published: 2 Sep 2011

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