Brian Cox says he switched from Labour to ‘put Scotland first’ with independence

·3-min read
Actor Brian Cox insisted Scotland had been ‘sidelined’ and ‘ignored’ (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Actor Brian Cox insisted Scotland had been ‘sidelined’ and ‘ignored’ (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Succession star Brian Cox has said he had to put Scotland “first” when asked to explain why he had switched from Labour to supporting independence.

The award-winning actor, who stars as Logan Roy in the hit series, said that Scotland had “always been sidelined” – pointing to the Brexit vote as evidence for this.

While almost two thirds (62%) of Scots who took part in the 2016 referendum voted to stay in the European Union voters across the UK backed leaving, resulting in the country’s eventual departure from the trading bloc.

I have to put my country first because I looked at what has happened to my country and I am disgusted

Actor Brian Cox

Cox also said the war in Iraq and the “failure of social democracy” had been factors in his move away from Labour

Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, the actor recalled how he had voiced Labour election broadcasts in 1997 – the year Tony Blair came to power in the UK.

He said: “I was the voice of Labour in 1997, I helped, I did all the ads and I gave myself to it.

“But at the end of the day Scotland is prime for me.”

In 2007, Cox starred in a party political broadcast for Scottish Labour but in 2012 he had switched to supporting independence, taking part in the launch of Yes Scotland alongside the then first minister Alex Salmond.

Asked why his politics has changed, the Dundee-born actor said: “We really haven’t got enough time, it is a long story, and it comes really down to what I thought was a failure of social democracy.

“Also the Iraq war, that affected me, Blair’s hubris affected me. And I saw the party going in a certain direction and I was really very concerned.”

Brian Cox (far right) at the launch of the Yes Scotland campaign in 2012. (David Cheskin/PA)
Brian Cox (far right) at the launch of the Yes Scotland campaign in 2012. (David Cheskin/PA)

Cox insisted he was a “socialist” saying he agreed with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on “many things”.

He added he was “devastated” by Labour’s losses in the north of England in the 2019 general election

But he said: “My country was traduced for long enough, time and time again. We voted 62% to stay in Europe and we were ignored, and if you think about the Thatcher years we were ignored.

“So Scotland has always been sidelined.”

Cox continued: “I look at what happened in the north at the last election and I was devastated by that because I am a socialist, principally I am a socialist. But I have to put my country first because I looked at what has happened to my country and I am disgusted.

“And the penny only dropped later because I was young, I was ambitious, I wasn’t thinking about politics.”

Sir Keir accepted: “It is certainly true we have to do a lot of work in Scotland.”

The Labour leader, appearing on the same programme, added: “The most important thing is actually respect, and listening to Scotland has to be a central part of this.”

But he insisted Labour would not do a deal with the SNP to help win power at Westminster.

“There’s no basis of a deal before we go into an election, nor coming out of an election,” he stated.

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