Nigel Farage heckled in European Parliament for comparing MEPs to ‘the mafia’ over Brexit negotiations...so instead refers to them as ‘gangsters’
PUBLISHED: 13:29 05 April 2017 | UPDATED: 13:29 05 April 2017
Jean-Francois BADIAS / AP
The former Ukip leader was told by the parliament’s president his comments were “unacceptable”
Nigel Farage was this morning heckled and told off in Strasbourg for claiming MEPs were “behaving like the mafia” in Brexit negotiations - so swiftly amended his comments and compared them to “gangsters”.
The south east MEP, who until recently lived in Westerham, said in the European Parliament today: “You have shown yourselves with these demands to be vindictive, to be nasty, all I can say is thank goodness we’re leaving.
“You are behaving like the mafia - you think we are a hostage, we’re not.
“We’re free to go, we’re free to go.”
MEPs then jeered the former Ukip leader, forcing the parliament’s president, Italian Antonio Tajani, to stop him in his tracks.
“I’m trying to give you the chance to speak and say everything you want to say, but you’re saying this parliament is behaving like the mafia,” he said.
“As far as I’m concerned, that’s unacceptable.”
Mr Farage responded by saying: “I do understand, sir, Mr President, I do understand about national sensitivities.
“I’ll change it to gangsters. All right? And that is how we are being treated.”
The comments came as MEPs heard the European Commission’s president Jean-Claude Juncker and chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier restate their rejection of Theresa May’s appeal for divorce and trade talks to be held in parallel, insisting that the EU could not deal with its future relations with the UK until the terms of withdrawal were “fully resolved”.
Both men also said Britain would have to pay a divorce bill to settle financial commitments entered into as a member state, with Mr Barnier saying: “We do not seek to punish the United Kingdom, we are simply asking the United Kingdom to deliver on its commitments and undertakings as a member of the European Union.”
Responding to Mr Farage’s description of the financial demand, estimated at around £50 billion, as “a kind of ransom payment”, Mr Barnier said: “In fact, Mr Farage, all we are doing is settling the accounts. No more and no less.”