• Nigel Farage MEP, UK Independence Party (UKIP), President of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group (EFDD) in the European Parliament - @Nigel_Farage
• Debate: Negotiations with the United Kingdom following its notification that it intends to withdraw from the European Union
Good morning, thank you Mr Chairman. Well it may have taken nine months, a pretty full gestation, but be in no doubt that last Wednesday was a great, historic day when the United Kingdom announced we were going to become an independent, self-governing, democratic nation once again. An act that has been cheered by hundreds of millions of people all over the world.
Now we’ve had a little history lesson this morning from Mr Verhofstadt, you made one mistake, in 1973 sir we did not join the European Union, we joined the European Economic Community and had the British people known that it was intended to get political and take away our ability to govern ourselves, we never would. Now I’m sorry to say 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.
You began by telling us that we have to pay a bill, a cool 52 billion sterling, a figure that has clearly been plucked out of the air. Effectively a form of ransom demand. What you could have acknowledged is that we’ve put net over 200 billion sterling into this project, we’re actually shareholders in this building and the rest of the assets, and really you should be making us an offer we can’t refuse to go.
And the ever charming Mr Verhofstadt, the Parliament’s chief negotiator, in his resolution that we’re to vote on later today tells us that we cannot discuss potential trade deals with anybody else in the world until we’ve left the European Union. That has no basis in treaty law whatsoever and it’s rather like saying you can’t guarantee yourself a dwelling for when you leave prison and I trust the British Government will completely ignore you. And of course Mr Tusk, who is not with us today, I suspect he’s still crying, he looked pretty tearful didn’t he after the British ambassador delivered the letter last week? He tells us in his memorandum that any future trade deal must ensure that the United Kingdom is not allowed to have a competitive advantage.
This is all impossible and you add to that the hypocrisy of on the one hand saying the EU will negotiate as one and clause 22 of the Tusk document saying that actually with Gibraltar that the Spanish can have a total veto over the whole trade deal if they’re not happy with the sovereignty of Gibraltar. We believe in national self-determination, your aim and ambition is to destroy nation state democracy. Gibraltar is clearly a deal breaker on current terms.
You’ve shown yourself with these demands to be vindictive, to be nasty. All I can say is thank goodness we are leaving. You are behaving like the mafia, you think we’re a hostage. We’re not, we’re free to go. We’re free to go.
Chair- I’m trying to give you the chance to speak and say everything you want to say but if you are talking about the mafia, you are saying that Parliament are acting like the mafia. As far as I am concerned that’s unacceptable.
I do understand national sensitivities, I’ll change it to gangsters, alright? And that is how we are being treated. We are being given a ransom note but what must be very difficult for all of you to get into your minds is there is a bigger world out there than the European Union. 85 percent of the global economy is outside the European Union and 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. You know we don’t have to buy German cars, we don’t have to drink French wine, we don’t have to eat Belgian chocolate. There are a lot of other people who will give that to us, a return to tariffs will risk the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people living in the European Union and yet what you’re saying is that you want to put the interests of the European Union above that of your citizens and your companies and if you continue with that route it won’t just be the United Kingdom that triggers article 50, there will be many more to come.