Brexit Party MEP makes himself laughing stock in EU parliament challenge

Former Brexit Party MEP Robert Rowland in the European Parliament

Former Brexit Party MEP Robert Rowland in the European Parliament - Credit: EU Parliament

A Brexit Party MEP has received a humiliating comeback after he attempted to challenge a Green Party MEP's credentials in EU parliament.

Brexiteer MEP for South East England Robert Rowland seemed to believe he was throwing down the gauntlet when he stood up to question Molly Scott-Cato on her fitness to comment on economics, and particularly her criticisms of the prime minister's post-Brexit trade deal strategy.

Addressing the MEP, Rowland said: "I'd just like to ask Mrs Scott Cato what empirical proof she has that the end of the transition period when we will be leaving the European Union, hopefully on a 'Canada plus'-style trade deal, will result in a cliff-edge - when as far as I'm aware she does not have any degree in economics.

"Maybe she has some business experience that would give some empirical proof that that would be the case?"

"So I was wondering whether you could answer that question of why you're so certain that the United Kingdom will suffer as a result of that."

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To his immediate regret, Scott-Cato responded: "Obviously you haven't been paying much attention to my CV because I was and I remain a professor of economics."

Scott-Cato's previous career as an economist saw her most recently occupy the post of professor of green economics at Roehampton University. She is now the finance spokesperson for the Greens.

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Having paused to allow laughter and applause in the room, she continued: "I also have expertise in trade policy and have been studying the trade negotiations from the beginning. I rely on the expertise of other trade experts, all of whom have said it takes much longer than the time available to negotiate a treaty.

"And the likelihood is, if we go ahead with Boris Johnson' deal, we will end up in exactly the same crisis facing a no-deal Brexit at the end of 2020."

"I think Mr Rowland stands corrected," said the chair.

Both Rowland and the Brexit Party have tweeted other contributions from the same day in EU parliament, but did not shout about this exchange.

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