MICHAEL Sheen has sparked anger after rejecting calls to divert parts of Britain’s generous foreign aid budget to help victims of the UK’s devastating floods.
The Welsh actor was blasted by Twitter users who labelled him “out of touch” with the scale of the damage caused by the extreme weather conditions.
Others fumed as they called him an “idiot” for comments made earlier today while being guest editor for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Mr Sheen, who mainly lives in LA, said the argument for cutting foreign aid was a “false dichotomy” as he signed off his slot on the show.
The 46-year-old said: “A lot of the talk today has been about, ‘Where does charity begin?’
“Does it begin at home? Why should we be helping children and people from other countries when there’s so much suffering and challenges going on in our own country?
“And it is absolutely true. There is terrible, terrible poverty in this country; there are terrible conditions for certain people.
“And I can understand why people get so worried about giving money to other countries, but of course 0.7 per cent of the national income goes on foreign aid.
“That is about being a member of the global community, taking that responsibility seriously. 99.3 per cent of course goes on what goes on in this country.
“And the argument, the false dichotomy of pushing British people against foreigners, or shirkers against strivers, it’s a false argument.
“And it allows other people who have certain interests to get away with it.
“The argument needs to be, ‘What is our government doing for people in our own country?'”
Presenter Nick Robinson was quick to say the Welsh actor was stating his own opinions and future guest editors would have “alternative opinions”.
But that did not stop an angry backlash against the Frost/Nixon star.
Twitter user Robert Griessel posted: “Charity begins at home, get your own house in order before you go helping someone else words you should live by.”
Tweeter @HighgateBill posted: “Disappointed to hear your comments on the floods in England. Another LA luvvie completely out of touch with this comment.”
While @Jan_208 tweeted at Mr Sheen: “I’m unfollowing you for your comments about the floods in the North, you are an idiot and I have lost respect for you.”
Other people on Twitter said the Welsh actor’s views were “spot on” and praised him for defending Britain’s foreign aid policy.
Swathes of the north, including York, Manchester and Leeds, have been left submerged after heavy flooding shortly after Christmas.
And the UK is set to face further weather chaos as 120mph gales and torrential rain will blast the country for 48 hours from tomorrow.