• UKIP Leader Nigel Farage has written to the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz this evening accusing him of breaking the Parliament's own Rules of Procedure.
"I don't want to debate with you on the direct link you made between flags and nationalism," Mr Farage wrote, "but on the simple fact that a President, during a debate feels entitled to comment on the content of a speech made by a Member." (See letter below).
Mr Schulz's comments came after German MEP Reinhard Bütikofer (Greens) accused Mr Farage of "incitement to hatred" for using the term 'Gauleiter' in his speech today in Brussels.
Nigel Farage responded, saying he used the prefix 'some may say...," adding that the Euro project had caused great disharmony among nations and that Britain itself had acted badly towards Greece in the 19th century with gunboat diplomacy.
Speaking from the supposedly impartial Chair, the President of the European Parliament said:
"Nationalism is propagated in this house by those who wear flags upon their desks and nationalism upon their sleeve. I believe you are one of them. Next speaker is Mr Brok."
This was followed by loud commotion from stunned MEPs. Nigel Farage stood up and spoke to raise a point of order with Mr Schulz. This was denied.
"Mr Brok has the floor," Schulz said. "Please take your seat. I am calling you to order, asking you to take your seat. Mr Farage, I am calling you to order, please take your seat otherwise you will have to leave the chamber. Mr Brok has the floor."
Nigel Farage then walked out of the chamber followed by all UKIP MEPs present.
Letter from Nigel Farage to Martin Schulz:
In the course of today's debate, after I gave an answer to a "blue card" question, you allowed yourself to make a comment on the content of my speech.
I don't want to debate with you on the direct link you made between flags and nationalism (you must be feeling pretty uncomfortable to chair the Parliament since your seat in the Chamber is surrounded by 28 of them), but on the simple fact that a President, during a debate feels entitled to comment on the content of a speech made by a Member.
It would have been slightly more parliamentary if you had the courtesy to allow me an answer to your comment. To my understanding, the President cannot use his position to take a political advantage during a debate over a speaker who is not allowed to answer. I would like to recall for you that Art.20 .3 states "The President may speak in a debate only to sum up or to call speakers to order. Should he wish to take part in a debate, he shall vacate the chair and shall not reoccupy it until the debate is over". It looks as if you as President have broken the EP's Rules of Procedure.
Furthermore, when I protested against this unfair proceeding, your only answer was to threaten me with removal from the chamber by the ushers.
I would ask you, as the guardian of the codes of conduct, whether you believe your action today was worthy of the position you hold.