Ant Middleton demanded no deal Brexit to ‘bring back hardship’ and ‘toughen Britons up’

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally secured his election promise to “get Brexit done” after the UK and EU agreed a trade pact on Christmas Eve. Mr Johnson said the historic moment would allow the UK to “take back control” of its sovereignty, while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed her happiness that the talks were finally over. But before the pact was agreed Ant told the Government not to bother getting a deal with the bloc, as he felt the time had come to ensure a fractured country came back together.

Ant, who appears on the BBC’s The Graham Norton Show tonight, was no doubt referring to the major divide that was sparked after the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Around 52 percent of the public backed Leave, while 48 percent voted Remain.

Yet Ant, who gained notoriety for his appearances as an instructor on the hit Channel 4 show SAS: Who Dares Wins, told then-Prime Minister Theresa May of how he would heal this apparent divide.

Three years ago, Ant said: “A ‘no deal’ for our country would actually be a blessing in disguise.

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“It would force us into hardship and suffering which would unite and bring us together, bringing back British values of loyalty and a sense of community!

“Extreme change is needed!”

His comments on Twitter were made as Mrs May was attempting to find a pathway through Parliament to get her Brexit deal backed by MPs.

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At the time her deal was savaged by those in the House of Commons, and it was feared that if she was unable to secure a mandate that MPs supported, a second referendum could occur.

Other panicking Remainers also said a no deal Brexit may happen, which they alleged could cripple the economy.

Mr Middleton’s comments saw positive and negative reactions, with many arguing that although the adventurer’s comments were wrong, he was entitled to give his opinion considering his previous career.

One said: “As much as I don’t agree with his comment, I’d say fighting for his country and seeing his friends killed in action, he’s suffered enough already.”

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And another wrote on Twitter: “As much as we all respect your powers of endurance, most of us aren’t up to it – nor should we be.”

Among the critics was Channel 4 news presenter Matt Frei, who snapped that he “couldn’t remember seeing ‘suffer together’ on the side of the red bus”.

It’s not the first time Ant’s comments have sparked anger, as last year the celebrity came under fire for telling his thousands of followers that coronavirus “doesn’t bother him”.

He argued on social media that “because I’m strong and able like the majority of us” Covid-19 “has no benefit or positive impact on my life”.

Ant added: “If you are vulnerable to Covid-19 then the ‘expert advice’ is yours to take onboard, listen to it! Because it doesn’t affect me, it is merely ‘advice’.”

It emerged that some followers took his comments to suggest they should “carry on as normal” despite the pandemic continuing to decimate regions across the UK.

Reflecting on the anger he later apologised for the “tough-love” video message, claiming he was “prepared to take the flak”.

He said that “sometimes I get it wrong… but I would rather do that and learn as I go”, adding: “I didn’t know a pandemic was all of a sudden coming to play. I didn’t know we would have to tackle this by doing nothing, which goes against everything for me.

“This is obviously a lot more serious than I ever imagined. But I still stick to my mantra: If something tough is in front of you, tackle it head-on — unless it is a pandemic.”

The Graham Norton Show airs tonight on BBC One from 10.45pm.

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