In Brief

Ray Winstone mocked after threat to quit UK over taxes

'Is he gone yet?' ask Twitter users after actor claims Britain is 'being raped by high taxes'

ACTOR Ray Winstone has attracted ridicule after claiming high taxes could drive him out of Britain "quite soon". Winstone, famed for his 'hard man' roles in films like Sexy Beast and The Sweeney, told Talksport radio: "I love this country, but I've had enough of it, I don't see what we're being given back. I just see the country being raped."

He went on: "I drive down the road and there's more holes in the road than what there is in a tennis racket, you know."

Winstone's comments were picked up by Twitter user Robert Florence, who wrote: "We cannot allow a national treasure like Ray Winstone to leave the UK. We MUST lower all taxes NOW".

Music journalist Simon Price asked "Has Ray Winstone gone yet?" and Londoner Joel Taylor said he could "live without such daft comments" in the event of the actor making good on his threat.

It wasn't just Winstone's sentiments that annoyed people - his language also attracted opprobrium. Shadow equalities minister Kate Green told the Daily Mirror his use of the word "rape" could be "upsetting and hurtful" to survivors. "Rape is a vicious and utterly wicked attack on people which can leave them emotionally and often physically scarred. It's wrong to equate that with having to pay your taxes", she said.

Green's criticism is unlikely to bother the 56-year-old. During his controversial interview Winstone said he "wouldn't trust any" politicians, adding: "Maybe we should all stop voting and then something would be done about it".

The actor is not the first celebrity to claim they will leave the UK over high taxes. Tracey Emin also said she would leave the country over the 50p tax in 2009. The Independent points out that one fellow actor, Michael Caine, left the country from 1979 to 1986 to avoid high UK taxes - but that was to escape a top rate of 82p in the pound. Not a lot of people know that.

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