Friday 17 November 2017

'Russell Brand is a joke, Ed Miliband meeting Russell Brand is a joke' - British PM

By Michael Wilkinson

Russell Brand has hit back at David Cameron after he branded the comedian a "joke".

The British Prime Minister's comments came just hours after Labour leader Ed Miliband was photographed leaving Brand's apartment on Monday night.

The comedian-turned-political activist later released parts of the video interview with Mr Miliband on his popular YouTube channel, The Trews.

Mr Cameron earlier attacked the Labour leader for meeting the star – but Brand tweeted back:

"Don't be jealous Dave - I'll run into you at West Ham - when you're not busy with "ordinary people," he tweeted.

Brand, who has spent months deriding the current Westminster system, has previously said that he would never vote - and implored young people to do the same.

In stark contrast, Mr Miliband has advocated allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote.

Mr Cameron labelled Brand a "joke" and attacked Ed Miliband for meeting the comic.

The Prime Minister was asked whether he was jealous the Labour leader was appearing with Brand and if he wanted the endorsement of comedians.

Mr Cameron responded: "Russell Brand is a joke, Ed Miliband meeting Russell Brand is a joke!"

He attacked the comedian for suggesting people should not vote if they disagree with politicians and said he was focusing on more important things like fixing the economy.

Labour has confirmed that Mr Miliband visited Mr Brand's Shoreditch flat and recording studio to film an interview.

The party said Mr Miliband "was doing a media interview like he often does", adding that it "looked forward to it being broadcast".

One of Mr Brand's neighbours photographed Mr Miliband leaving the apartment with an entourage of aides as he got into an official car.

Speaking earlier this year about the comedian, Mr Miliband said: "I definitely want people to vote – and I want people to vote Labour, obviously – but it’s really important that we engage people in the election.

"People criticise Russell Brand, and I don’t agree with his message, but what he’s saying, a number of people are thinking, which is that politics doesn’t feel like it speaks to them."

Brand earlier released an excerpt from the interview and in it Mr Miliband told him that a Labour government would take on tax avoidance by multinational companies.

He said that many voters shared his "outrage" over multi-nationals who use complicated tax arrangements to minimise the amounts they pay, and assured him: "We've got to deal with that."

Mr Miliband insisted: "It can be dealt with, but you've got to have a government that is willing to say there's something wrong with this and we are going to deal with it."

And when Brand asked him "You are that government?", Miliband responded: "Yeah."

Dressed in a dark suit and blue tie, Mr Miliband appeared to be perched on a bar stool in the kitchen area of Brand's flat as he debated with the comedian, dressed in grey sweat-shirt and a long string of beads.

Brand told him: "What I've learned is because of geo-political influences and global finances, it seems it is very difficult at a domestic level to leverage serious influence."

Miliband interjected: "That's just not true."

(Additional reporting Press Association)

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