Eastern Daily Press (http://www.edp24.co.uk) - 5 April 2017
By Annabelle Dickson - firstname.lastname@example.org - @newsannabelle
Nigel Farage has been accused of driving a herd of bulls through tricky Brexit negotiations after he accused MEPs of behaving like the mafia.
The former leader of the UK Independence Party was rebuked by the President of the European Parliament after telling MEPs:
"You're behaving like the mafia - you think we're a hostage. We're free to go!".
His comments prompted Eastern region Conservative MEP Vicky Ford to hit back, telling the parliament: "Calling other colleagues members of the mafia or gangsters does not show mutual respect, it does not represent the views of the vast majority of the British people and it is not the view of the British prime minister who wants to remain friends, allies, and partners."
MEPs met today to debate negotiations between the European Union and UK after the two-year stopwatch was set on Brexit negotiations when prime minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 last Wednesday.
Mrs Ford, who has been an MEP since 2009 and leads a committee on the single market, said she wanted an amicable separation and a constructive and deep future relationship between the UK and EU.
She said: "When negotiating a tricky separation one needs to keep calm, but when Farage spoke it was like a herd of bulls had just been driven straight through the china shop. Of course there will be times when negotiators disagree but chucking indiscriminate insults at those on the other side of the channel will not help get a good deal for the UK. It's important that people across Europe know that most Brits don't support this sort of language."
Mr Farage described last Wednesday as an "historic day" for Britain following the activation of Article 50.
"An act that that he been cheered by hundreds of millions of people all over the world," he added.
He continued: "The response to the triggering of Article 50 has been all too predictable.
"Already you've made a series of demands that are not just unreasonable but in some cases clearly impossible for Britain to comply with."
During his speech Mr Farage also claimed Britons could boycott European goods if the EU tried to impose tariffs on exports from the UK.
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