Brussels official tells Farage, Johnson and Fox to apologise to the British people

Nigel Farage in the European Parliament. Photograph: European Parliament.

Nigel Farage in the European Parliament. Photograph: European Parliament. - Credit: Archant

A senior Brussels official has lashed out at Brexiteers Nigel Farage, Liam Fox and Boris Johnson - telling them they should apologise for their undeliverable promises and for costing British people their jobs.

European Commission vice president Frans Timmermans targeted Nigel Farage, Liam Fox and Boris Johnson as he addressed MEPs in Strasbourg.

He suggested former UKIP leader Farage should face Nissan workers and explain that his 'pipe dream' could cost their jobs.

Timmermans said: 'Having listened to Mr Farage and his colleagues and seeing the hubris with which he stands here and the self-gratification of his position, I sometimes wonder, has he gone to Sunderland and talked to the workers at the Nissan plant and said to them 'It might cost you your job, but I will get my pipe dream of so-called sovereignty'?

'Has he gone to Oxford, to the Mini plant, and said 'I know what BMW are thinking if there is a no-deal Brexit, but I want it so badly, this no-deal Brexit, that I really don't care about your job'? Has he done that? That would have been the honest thing to do.'

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Turning to the international trade secretary, he said: 'Has Dr Liam Fox ever said 'Well, I said it would be the easiest trade deal in human history, but on second thoughts it's much more complicated than I promised before the referendum'?

'Has Boris Johnson gone to the doctors and nurses of the NHS and said 'I did promise you £350 million extra a week; sorry, I can't deliver on that promise'?

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'Have they done that? I think, frankly, we would need, if we want to come out of this situation, a bit more modesty and honesty on all sides.'

He told them to have the 'courage' to go to Ireland too and tell them their plans and what they ae willing to sacrifice for their Brexit dreams.

'A place where, since 1998 peace has reigned and violence has disappeared. Tell the people there 'my pipe dream is more important than your peace and quiet, and I will accept that pipe dream if it means a hard border''.

The official also questioned why so few politicians in the UK referenced the 16.1 million people who voted to Remain. He reminded Westminster that 'they have not disappeared.'

'Isn't the essence of European democracy to also accept and respect the position of minorities in our countries? Isn't the essence of democracy that we try to build bridges and find solutions that can be carried by most people in our society?'

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Timmerman's speech prompted heckling from supporters of Farage like MEP David Coburn, who tried to shout down the official by shouting about his freedom.

In a fiery exchange deputy president Viviane Reding intervened to criticise Coburn by saying: 'You and I have a special relationship. I'm special and I don't know what you are!'

Farage, meanwhile, used his own contribution to the European parliament debate to call for politicians in Brussels to overrule the British parliament in its bid to extend Article 50, making a mockery of his concerns about sovereignty. Following Barnier's estimation of how long negotiations about the EU-UK future relationship could take, he said: 'We don't want to waste four more years of our life, four more years of agony.'

He called for any extension request from Britain to be vetoed, adding: 'We leave, and both you and we can get on with the rest of our lives. That's the only neat solution ahead of us.'

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