A British prank call show might have accidentally stopped a 90's Brexit

In October 1993, as part of his show “Rory Bremner, Who Else?” for U.K. broadcaster Channel 4, Bremner called member of parliament (MP) Richard Body, a so-called “Eurosceptic” (that is, someone who wanted to leave the European Union), pretending to be Major, and asked for Body’s support. Body, and several other MPs were on the verge of challenging Major’s leadership at the time of the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool. Evidently Bremner, who was experimenting whether his impersonation of the Prime Minister was good enough, was convincing, and Body and his fellow revolting MPs decided not to mount a challenge to Major, who had a majority of just 18 in parliament at that time.

If the revolt had succeeded, the Brexit process could have commenced then.

Even though the then cabinet secretary Robin Butler was skeptical whether the caller was in fact the Prime Minister, as he was boarding a plane to Kuala Lumpur at the time, Body was convinced. He eventually accepted that the call was a hoax.

Meanwhile, Butler spoke to the then Channel 4 chief executive Michael Grade, who promised that Body’s call would not be broadcast.


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