ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus was inadvertently mocked by Theresa May after desperate Brexit plea

Coleen Nolan performs ABBA at karaoke

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Today sees the launch of ABBA Voyage, a celebration of the Swedish pop icons’ career, in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It has been more than four decades since the quartet, who have sold more than 400 million albums globally, split, and their return marks a watershed moment in pop history. Along with their incredible album sales, the group also had 17 number one hits.

The concert is taking place in the purpose built ABBA arena, which holds 3,000 people, and is set to be performed digitally by a ten-piece band and virtual versions of the Swedes.

While ABBA have enjoyed an incredible relationship with the British public, one of its members was left red faced after his desperate plea backfired.

Ulvaeus was a key member of ABBA during their initial rise between 1972 and 1982, helping pen a number of the band’s brilliant tracks.

But when quizzed on whether Britons should vote to leave the European Union, his comments did not strike so well with the public.

Ahead of 2016’s vote the star told listeners on BBC Radio Five Live: “It would really make me sad if Britain would leave and what that would mean.

“It’s like someone you love leaving you. It’s emotional.”

His remarks were backed by fellow commentator James McGrory, a spokesman for Stronger In, the campaign group which backed Remain in the referendum.

He added: “The leave campaign wants the British public to take a chance by turning our backs on the EU and risking our economic security and global influence.”

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In a separate interview after the historic vote, which was won by the Leave campaign, Ulvaeus continued: “There are some tough times ahead of us.

“But maybe, you know, during the Great Depression in the US, people were looking for entertainment more than any other period in history.

“During bad times people want to escape the gloom, if only for a few hours.”

The musician, who was speaking ahead of the UK launch of Mamma Mia! The Party, added: “I am hoping still that Britain is part of Europe, which I think it is and should be.

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“I don’t see why it shouldn’t be.”

At the time of his remarks, then-Prime Minister Theresa May famously entered the Conservative Party conference to the music of ABBA’s Dancing Queen.

Her dancing was heavily ridiculed and quickly went viral online, and was transformed into a meme.

While the now-77-year-old wouldn’t be drawn on the leader’s dance moves, remarking “no comment” when asked, the EU later latched onto his comments.

This included Belgian politician Guy Verhofstadt who wrote on Twitter: “While dancing to ABBA today, PM May overlooked the fact that Bjorn from ABBA called Brexit a ‘disaster’.”

Ulvaeus admitted his nerves over the UK departing the EU, with Sweden and Britain enjoying a fruitful relationship for centuries.

He noted how he was “so nervous” ahead of the vote, adding to the BBC: “It really makes me sad the thought that Britain would leave.

‘It’s like someone you love leaving you in a way. It’s emotional.

“I’m not intellectually quite clear what I mean, but emotionally I’m certain I don’t want Britain to leave.”

ABBA Voyage starts from today.

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