I had a ‘screw it moment’, says Europe MP who held sign up behind Nigel Farage

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 February, 2017, 9:20am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 February, 2017, 8:55pm

A Labour MEP who held up a sign saying “He’s lying to you” behind Nigel Farage has said he was frustrated at the former Ukip leader getting airtime without being challenged.

Seb Dance, a Labour representative for London, displayed the handwritten message from his seat behind Farage in the European parliament on Wednesday.

Ukip has submitted a complaint about his conduct, which remained visible to television cameras until Dance was asked to stop by a clerk.

Dance said he had acted out of frustration after having a “screw it moment”.

“It was frustration. I was fed up frankly with nationalist and populist messages being paraded around as if they were the solution to people’s problems,” the Labour MEP said. “The really frustrating thing about the European parliament is that we cannot intervene and he was going to get three minutes of uninterrupted speaking time. I just felt enough is enough. I have got to do something pretty crude and un-nuanced to point out something I think is happening.”

Dance said he objected to Farage’s argument that the Donald Trump travel ban on nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries was a matter for US sovereignty.

“We are not questioning the US’s sovereignty, we are questioning the morality,” Dance said.

The MEP says he also felt bound to act because Farage so often appears to be the dominant British voice in the European parliament because he is head of the officially recognised EFDD grouping.

Farage caused uproar in the European parliament when he said the new US president was simply trying to protect his country from terrorists.

He challenged MEPs to invite Trump to come and address them in an “open dialogue” or expose themselves to be the “anti-democratic zealots” he had always suspected them to be.

“It seems to me with all the anti-Trump rhetoric that is coming from everywhere, actually what we are hearing is the true nature of the European project, which is genuine anti-Americanism,” he said.

“Trump is motivated by protecting the United States of America from Islamic terrorism whereas what has happened in this room and in governments around Europe is that you have welcomed these people into your own homes.”

The complaint against Dance was submitted by Bill Etheridge, a Ukip MEP, who said it was “disgusting behaviour” and “pathetic and cowardly”.

In response to the complaint, Dance said: “Whatever the president and parliament decides, I am happy to accept the consequences.”