Watch: European Parliament mocks ‘big loser’ Nigel Farage over unresignation
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has been mercilessly mocked on his return to the European Parliament over his ‘un-resignation’.
After sparking an internal ‘war’ within UKIP – with MEP Patrick O’Flynn quitting as economics spokesman and deputy chair Suzanne Evans losing her role as policy chief – Mr Farage had an equally rough reception from MEPs.
Welcoming Mr Farage back, German MEP Manfred Weber said: “I would like to welcome Mr Farage – the big election loser. He said he would stand down, he would resign, he wouldn’t continue in that post.
“You didn’t keep your electoral promise Mr Farage! You’ve broken a very important promise.”
Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian PM and head of the liberal ALDE group that includes the UK’s Lib Dems, added: “He is a man of his word. Nigel Farage has sent a letter to Nigel Farage, saying ‘I resign’ and Nigel Farage has responded to Nigel Farage saying ‘I refuse’. That’s the way how it works there.”
Mr Farage “thanked” the MEPs for the warm reception, adding: “I do detect in some of the smiles and laughter that’s been directed at me, a slight hint at nervousness, and so there jolly well should be, because there is going to be a British referendum on whether we stay in or whether we leave this European Union.”
Amid the internal party feud, last week the party’s only MP Douglas Carswell finally weighed in on Mr Farage’s references to people with HIV during the election debates.
Mr Carswell, who previously declined to comment on Mr Farage’s repeated comparison, said: “We need to admit that using the example of HIV patients to make the point was ill-advised.”
Mr Farage came under intense scrutiny for making claims about HIV during the election campaign – claiming during the BBC leadership debate that the UK is now “incapable” of treating Britons with HIV.
He has also been accused of “ducking” gay rights issues by pulling out of a planned Q&A with PinkNews, making him the only party leader to not take part.
David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Natalie Bennett and Nicola Sturgeon all answered questions from PinkNews readers – but Mr Farage refused to do so.
UKIP was the only one of the main UK-wide parties to have pledged an anti-LGBT policy, with the party’s Christian Manifesto – which was not released to the press – calling for a ‘conscience’ law to weaken equality legislation, and accommodate the beliefs of people who oppose gay rights.
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