Ex-minister calls for the UK to pull out of 'barmy' Eurovision

The UK should PULL OUT of Eurovision because the taxpayer wastes hundreds of thousands of pounds on it and European voters always make us lose, says ex-minister

The UK should stop wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds on the ‘barmy’ Eurovision song contest, a former minister insisted today.

Veteran Tory MP Mike Penning said the cult competition is ‘full of politics’ and ‘we know we’re going to come last’ as a result.

He said taxpayers were often not aware that the BBC made a significant contribution to footing the bill – thought to be around £300,000 a year. 

The intervention – in an interview with Gloria De Piero on GB News – comes after the British entrant last year, James Newman, recorded an humiliating ‘nul points’ as he came bottom of the table. 

The contest was hosted in Rotterdam last May, and won by glam rockers Måneskin from Italy – who took to the stage in flared lederhosen with their nipples out.

It was only the second time since the UK started taking part in 1957 that its entrant has failed to get any points, but in recent years British hopefuls have languished near the foot of the standings.

The UK should stop wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds on the ‘barmy’ Eurovision song contest, former minister Mike Penning insisted today. Pictured, last year’s winners Maneskin

The British entrant last year, James Newman (left), recorded an humiliating ‘nul points’ and Sir Mike said ‘we know we’re going to come last’

Domestic opinion was split on whether the 2021 entry was simply not very good, or other factors such as Brexit were to blame. The BBC has chosen Sam Ryder to represent the UK this year with his song Space Man. 

Sir Mike said it was obvious that geopolitical factors were more important to the results than the quality of the song.

‘We all sit and watch it, we all know we’re gonna come last,’ he said. 

‘We all know that Greece is going vote for Cyprus, and the whole of the Eastern block… well, until what’s obviously going on recently…’ 

But he added: ‘At the end of the day I don’t think many of the British public know that we pay for the Eurovision song contest. 

‘The taxpayer pays for it and that’s the only reason that we’re always in the final we can’t not qualify for the final. 

The exact figure contributed by the BBC to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) for the event is not publicly revealed, but it has previously been put at £300,000 or more.

Maneskin performing as they took the win for Italy in the cult contest last year

Italian entrants Maneskin lick the trophy after their victory last year

The corporation has argued that the size of the audiences Eurovision attracts justify the cost. 

Mr Penning pointed out that as a result the UK did not have to qualify for the finals – suggesting that was the only reason its entrants ever made it through. 

He also highlighted the geographical oddities of Eurovision.    

‘I wasn’t very good at school, but I didn’t think Australia was in Europe… this is barmy,’ he said. 

‘Now we all sit there and have a pizza as a family and have a laugh, but I think there’s better money spent by the British taxpayer. 

‘And if they want us in, let’s get there on merit. We know we won’t get there on merit we’ll be last. 

‘Not because we can’t sing, not cause we don’t do good songs, because it’s full of politics. 

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