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Brexit: Nigel Farage asked 'why are you here' at emergency meeting of EU parliament

Ukip leader goads European Parliament: 'None of you have ever done a proper job in your lives'

By Claire Williamson

Published 28/06/2016

Handout photo issued by the EU of Nigel Farage speaking at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, during an emergency session to discuss the fallout from the Brexit vote. Dominique Hommel/European Union/PA Wire
Handout photo issued by the EU of Nigel Farage speaking at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, during an emergency session to discuss the fallout from the Brexit vote. Dominique Hommel/European Union/PA Wire
Leader of the UKIP Nigel Farage sits behind a British flag during a special session of European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. EU heads of state and government meet Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels for the first time since Britain voted to leave the European Union, throwing British and European politics into disarray. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, greets UKIP leader Nigel Farage during a special session of European Parliament in Brussels (AP)

Nigel Farage has been challenged by the President of the European Commission who asked him why he was there at an emergency meeting of the EU parliament.

The session was scheduled to discuss the UK's Brexit vote, in which Northern Ireland voted to remain.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was met with applause from UKIP members when he said: "We must respect British democracy and the way it has expressed its view."

"That's the last time you are applauding here and to some extent I'm really surprised you are here.

"You are fighting for the exit. The British people voted in favour of the exit. Why are you here?"

In his speech to the EU Parliament the Ukip leader accused them of being "in denial" about the euro crisis, immigration and the imposition "by stealth, by deception, without ever telling the truth" of a political union.

Mr Farage later told members that "none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives".

"When I came here 17 years ago and I said I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the EU, you all laughed at me.

"Well I have to say, you aren't laughing now, are you.

"The reason you are so upset, the reason you are so angry, has been perfectly clear from all the angry exchanges this morning: you are in denial.

"You are in denial that your currency is failing," he said.

Facing down more boos, he said: "As a policy to impose poverty on Greece and the rest of the Mediterranean, you have done very well.

"You are in denial over (German chancellor) Mrs Merkel's call last year for as many people as possible to cross the Mediterranean into the European Union, which has led to massive divisions between countries and within countries.

"But the biggest problem you have got, and the main reason the United Kingdom voted the way it did, is that you have, by stealth, by deception, without ever telling the truth to the British or the rest of the peoples of Europe, you have imposed upon them a political union."

Mr Farage said the EU Referendum was a "remarkable result".

He said: "In doing so we offer a beacon of hope to democrats across the European continent.

"The question is what do we do next. It's up to the British government to evoke article 50 and I don't think we should spend too long in doing it.

"What I would like to see is a grown up and sensible attitude to how we negotiate a different relationship. I know, that virtually none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives. Or worked in business, or trade or indeed ever created a job."

He concluded: "Why don't we just be pragmatic, sensible and grown up, realistic and lets cut between us, a sensible tariff deal.And thereafter recognise that the UK will be your friend that we will trade with you, cooperate with you, we will be your best friends in the world.

"But do that, do it sensibly and allow us to go off and pursue our global ambitions and future."

Impassioned pledges followed Mr Farage's address.

MEP Martina Anderson who represents Northern Ireland, which voted remain, said her constituents are not bound by the UK vote to Leave and backed Scotland's right to stay in the EU.

Northern Ireland could face a land border with the Republic of Ireland if it is pulled out of the union.

'Continue to support the Peace Process'

Ms Anderson said: "The EU has supported our peace process. I ask you to continue to do that.

"MEPs like Diane Dodds and Marine Le Pen would say that we in the north of Ireland are bound by a UK vote. We say we are not.

"Like the previous MEP (Alyn Smith) we ask you to respect our vote. We stand by the vote of the people from the north of Ireland, just like Scotland, which voted Remain.

"We accept, we respect and we will defend the wishes of the people of the north of Ireland.

"However if English folks drag out of the EU that would be like Britannia waives the rules.

“There was a democratic vote. We voted to remain. I tell you that the last thing the people of Ireland need is an EU border with 27 member states, stuck right in the middle of it.

“You and the EU you have supported our Peace Process and I ask you to continue to do that.”

"Sinn Fein, we went and we worked for a strong Remain vote on the basis of a more social Europe; a more democratic Europe, and clearly I say to the Commission and to the Council you are not listening, you failed to realise the depth of opposition among the ordinary people to their anti-democratic practices and anti-social policies.

"These social policies and practices must change if the EU is to survive."

'Don't let Scotland down'

Scottish nationalist MEP received a standing ovation at the European Parliament as he begged those present "Do not let Scotland down".

SNP MEP Alyn Smith said: "I want my country to be internationalist, co-operative, ecological, fair, European - and the people of Scotland, along with the people of Northern Ireland and the people of London and lots and lots of people in Wales and England, also voted to Remain within our family of nations.

"I demand that that status and that esprit europeen be respected.

"Colleagues, there are a lot of things to be negotiated and we will need cool heads and warm hearts, but please remember this: Scotland did not let you down. Please, I beg you, cher colleagues, do not let Scotland down now."

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