A Swedish MEP has described Nigel Farage as ‘the biggest liar in Europe’ and accused him of peddling ‘bullshit slogans’ just weeks ahead of Brexit.
Anna Maria Corazza Bildt made the accusations as the former UKIP leader used a conference panel appearance to dismiss warnings of financial turmoil after a no-deal Brexit and insisted money was ‘pouring’ into London.
Speaking at the event organised by Euronews, Bildt said: ‘People 40 days before Brexit people are giving these bullshit slogans.
‘It is so irresponsible. People want responsible politicians who give complete answers and solutions and you are still cheating.’
Farage told the event in London that investment bank Citigroup had bid £1.2bn to buy the Canary Wharf headquarters it currently leases, claiming it showed dire financial worries were ‘not happening’.
He told the event: ‘We were told in the referendum campaign four million jobs would go from the City quickly.
‘At the moment a few hundred have now gone and what you’ve now got is mass investment from the world’s biggest financial services companies.
‘Deutsche Bank have just spent like £20m on a huge building in the City.’
He told Bildt: ‘Stop lying about the City. It’s not happening.’
But the Swedish MEP, who sits on the European People’s Party’s working group on Brexit, said: ‘That’s really amazing, the biggest liar in Europe.’
Bildt told the conference that the EU was still a sustainable project amid the rise of populism across Europe and said that, rather than inspiring imitations, Brexit’s failure would provide a check on such movements.
‘There is rising consensus, or stable consensus, throughout the European Union for the European Union, including in Hungary,’ she said.
‘There are pro-European movements that are rising all over Europe. They get less attention than the populists, ’cause that’s the media logic.
‘And I think that there’s a BTP factor, I think – Brexit, Trump, Putin. People don’t want them to run their children’s future. And they will stand up in front of such a Russia, such a China and such a United States, unfortunately, as well – our friends and allies.
‘It’s better to be together. So I do consider and really believe that Brexit is the vaccine for the rest of Europe. It is not contagious.’
Asked if people had voted for Brexit knowing they would be materially worse off as a result, Farage said: ‘We voted for Brexit despite the fact the whole world, including President Obama, told us we’d be catastrophically worse off.
‘And we said ‘you know what? Even if you’re right we still want to be an independent nation, which means not being governed by the [former president of the European Commission Jose Manuel] Barrosos.
‘So we ignored them, we said we’re gonna vote for Brexit and you’ve got… the same phenomenon you see through the centuries, whenever you get a big political change out there that people want, the establishment always say ‘don’t do it, it’ll be disastrous’.’
Asked by Bildt how he was not the establishment, the MEP of 20 years’ standing and three-time UKIP leader said: ‘Because I’m not a career politician.’
The panel also included Richard Tice, vice chairman of the no-deal-supporting group Leave Means Leave and Dick Newby, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords.
When Tice dismissed concerns about Brexit’s economic impact as 90% of British firms did not export to the EU, Newby pointed to his local restaurant in North Yorkshire, which has closed as European staff returned home.
He said: ‘You cannot get service sector staff across the whole of the UK – London, anywhere else – unless you take them from the EU.
‘And the degree of abuse that’s been poured on people from the EU across the country means that they are voting with their feet.
‘It’s one of the ironies of this whole business that there were very, very genuine problems in some communities because there were a huge number of people came in and there were not proper resources – proper houses, proper schools.
‘This is not the problem now. You can almost hear the suction as the EU nationals either start or actually are leaving, whether it’s in this case chefs, whether it’s nurses, whether it’s doctors, whether it’s people who have just had enough of the casual abuse that they are suffering by being European which they have never suffered before, despite in many cases having lived in the UK for years.’