He claimed the group's politicisation began after he met the philosopher Bertrand Russell in London in the mid-1960s, reports the Telegraph. However, McCartney's critics see his comments as a further attempt to revise the history of the Beatles, casting himself in a better light.
"We sort of stumbled into things," he told Prospect magazine. "For instance, Vietnam. Just when we were getting to be well known, someone said to me: ''Bertrand Russell is living not far from here in Chelsea, why don't you go and see him?'' and so I just took a taxi down there and knocked on the door," he said.
He added: "He was fabulous. He told me about the Vietnam war, most of us didn't know about it, it wasn't yet in the papers, and also that it was a very bad war. I remember going back to the studio either that evening or the next day and telling the guys, particularly John [Lennon], about this meeting and saying what a bad war this was."
But Tariq Ali, who was one of the leaders of the anti-war movement in Britain, said: "It is not my recollection at all. It is possible McCartney met Bertrand Russell, but certainly I had no contact with Paul." McCartney also claimed that he has now handed over the political 'megaphone' to younger pop stars like Bob Geldof and Bono, the U2 singer.