Clown: Farage dubbed 'despicable' over EU 'mafia' claim

PUBLISHED: 14:56 05 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:40 05 April 2017

European Parliament/PA Wire

European Parliament/PA Wire

UKIP's former leader gets dressing down after "embarrassing" rant to EU parliament

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Nigel Farage has been labelled a “clown” after accusing the European Parliament of “behaving like the mafia”.

The former UKIP leader’s outburst came during a Strasbourg debate outlining the European Union’s Brexit negotiating red lines.

Farage was told to retract his “unacceptable” remark by the parliament’s president, Italian Antonio Tajani, and said that, in respect of his national sensitivities, he would instead brand them “gangsters”.

But an angry Tajani responded: “There are no mafia or gangsters here. There are representatives of the people. This is nothing to do with national sensitivities, it is to do with being civil and democratic.”

And in a scathing attack Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesman Tom Brake told The New European: “Farage is a total embarrassment – today he has acted like a clown and done nothing but more damage to the country he claims to love so much. His behaviour – although I am hardly shocked – is utterly despicable.”

Brake, MP for Carshalton and Wallington, added: “The real Brexit criminals are those who misled the British people during the referendum.

“Many of us warned that the negotiations would be extremely tough, with Britain alone seeking a deal from 27 united countries. Yet Farage and his Brexit friends in the Conservative Party promised the British people that it would be a breeze, that we would have a trade deal signed in time for tea.

“We said at the time this was a fantasy, and so it has proved. Even Theresa May now acknowledges that we will not secure a trade deal in two years, and she is now desperately seeking a transitional deal – something she insisted we would never need.

“It is increasingly clear that you can’t have a hard Brexit and still get everything out of the deal that the United Kingdom needs.”

During a heated debate Farage told MEPs: “If you wish to have no deal, if you wish to force us to walk away from the table, it is not us that will be hurt.

“We don’t have to buy German motor cars, we don’t have to drink French wine, we don’t have to eat Belgian chocolate. There are a lot of other people that will give that to us.”

He added that the European Council’s proposal to give Spain a veto on future agreements concerning Gibraltar could be a “deal-breaker”.

“You have shown yourselves by these demands to be vindictive, to be nasty,” he said. “All I can say is thank goodness we are leaving. You are behaving like the mafia. You think we are a hostage - we are not, we are free to go.”

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