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  1. ITV Report

Nigel Farage heckled over 'mafia' remark to MEPs

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Angus Walker

Nigel Farage was heckled in the European Parliament after accusing MEPs of "behaving like the mafia" over its handling of Brexit.

The former Ukip leader was told to retract his "unacceptable" remark by the Parliament's Italian president - prompting him to instead brand them "gangsters".

His comments came as MEPs debated what terms they want the UK to agree to as part of its Brexit settlement.

Mr Farage, who is an MEP for South East England, had said: "You have shown yourselves with these demands to be vindictive, to be nasty, all I can say is thank goodness we're leaving.

"You are behaving like the mafia - you think we are a hostage, we're not. We're free to go, we're free to go!"

The Parliament erupted in jeers at Mr Farage, forcing President Antonio Tajani to stop him in his tracks.

Mr Farage responded by saying: "I do understand, sir, Mr President. I do understand about national sensitivities. I'll change it to gangsters. All right? And that is how we are being treated."

President Antonio Tajani telling Mr Farage to retract his comment

The row came as the Parliament heard a string of senior MEPs insist that Britain cannot enjoy "the same or better conditions" in its relations with the European Union as full member states after Brexit.

The European Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, told MEPs that he expected the UK to return to the EU in the future, when a younger generation recognises withdrawal as "a loss of time, a waste of energy and a stupidity".

MEPs in Strasbourg were debating the European Parliament's red lines for any withdrawal agreement in two years' time.

The European Parliament effectively holds a veto on any Brexit deal as it must be approved by a majority of MEPs in a vote after having first received the assent of a qualified majority of national leaders in the European Council.

The debate came after Prime Minister Theresa May said curbs on freedom of movement would not come into force immediately after Britain has quit the European Union.