Sir Paul McCartney “wanted to continue” being in The Beatles.

The 'Let It Be' hitmaker has denied he was the band member who "instigated" the iconic Liverpool group's split in 1970 and insisted it was the late John Lennon - who was tragically murdered aged 40 in 1980 - who was behind their decision to call it a day.

Speaking in an upcoming interview on BBC Radio 4's new series 'This Cultural Life', Macca said: “I didn’t instigate the split. That was our Johnny.

“This was my band, this was my job, this was my life, so I wanted it to continue.”

On the speculation that was rife at the time that their demise was his doing, the 79-year-old music legend insisted: “I had to live with that because that was what people saw. All I could do is say, ‘no’.”

“I am not the person who instigated the split.

“Oh no, no, no. John walked into a room one day and said I am leaving the Beatles. Is that instigating the split, or not?”

Lennon had told the rest of the band that he wanted to leave the group.

And McCartney suggested the other members - including drummer Ringo Starr, 81, and the late George Harrison, who died aged 58 in 2001 - had all reached the same point in their lives when it was time to move on, even if they didn't realise it at the time.

The 'Penny Lane' star previously said: "There was a meeting where John came in and said, 'I'm leaving the group.' And looking back on it, he'd reached that stage in his life. We all had."

Macca also previously denied Lennon's wife Yoko Ono's "intrusive" nature caused the breakdown of The Beatles.

Many fans of the Fab Four have blamed the 86-year-old musician for the iconic band's split, but the bassist suggested she was only so involved because of the couple's love for each other.

He said: "Even though we thought she was intrusive because she used to sit in on the recording sessions and we'd never had anything like that.

"But looking back on it, you think, 'The guy was totally in love with her. And you've just got to respect that.' So we did. And I do."

The full interview will air on BBC Radio 4 on October 23.