Ann Widdecombe compared the European Union to slave owners and ‘feudal barons’ as she delivered a blistering debut speech in the European Parliament.
The former Tory MP and now MEP for The Brexit Party told her peers in Strasbourg that the direction of the EU, and the backlash against it, was the continuation of a ‘pattern consistent throughout history’.
Ms Widdecombe suggested that Britain was effectively a colony of the EU’s ’empire’ as she told them: ‘We are off!’
Her speech came as The Brexit Party’s 29 MEPs continued to disrupt proceedings in the French city after they turned their back on the EU anthem during their first day in their new jobs on Tuesday.
Ms Widdecombe was one of a handful of star candidates unveiled by party leader Nigel Farage in the run up to the European Parliament elections in May.
She also used her first speech as an MEP to take aim at the way in which the EU chooses its leaders and to criticise Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit coordinator.
Anne Widdecombe launched a blistering attack on the EU today as she delivered her debut speech in the European Parliament
The MEP for the south west compared the EU to slave owners and ‘feudal barons’ in the no-holds-barred address
Mr Farage, pictured today in Strasbourg, has promised a ‘turquoise takeover’ if Britain does not leave the EU by Halloween
The leader of The Brexit Party, pictured today in the European Parliament, delivered one of the greatest shocks in UK political history after his new political party surged to victory in May as it secured 29 seats
Farage hints break up of UK worth it for Brexit
Nigel Farage has suggested he is willing to risk the break up of the United Kingdom to achieve Brexit.
The Brexit Party leader said Britain being ‘an independent self-governing nation’ was his ‘number one’ priority.
His comments came as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who wants another referendum on independence, suggested a split would be Theresa May’s ‘legacy’ as prime minister.
Asked on ITV’s Peston if losing some of the constituent nations was a price worth paying, Mr Farage said: ‘If there were parts of the United Kingdom that didn’t wish to stay part of it that would be deeply regrettable but I just don’t believe that to be the case – I really genuinely don’t believe it.’
The MEP for the south west of England said: ‘It is a great honour to speak on behalf of the largest single party in this place.
‘May I say that if I needed any convincing at all that the best thing for Britain is to leave here as soon as possible it was the way that those elections were conducted yesterday because if that is this place’s idea of democracy then that is a serious betrayal of every country that is represented here because it is not democratic at all.
‘That is just one of many reasons why Britain is right to be leaving this place, hopefully on Halloween.
‘And it is right because there is a pattern consistent throughout history of oppressed people turning on the oppressors.
‘Slaves against their owners, the peasantry against the feudal barons, colonies, Mr Verhofstadt, against their empires and that is why Britain is leaving.
‘And it doesn’t matter which language you use we are going and we are glad to be going.’
David Lammy, the Labour MP, attacked Ms Widdecombe for comparing the EU to slave owners.
He tweeted: ‘It is impossible to explain how offensive and ahistorical it is for you to equate my ancestors tearing off their chains with your small-minded nationalist project. Shame on you.”
Meanwhile, Mr Verhofstadt hit back and called the newly-elected MEP The Brexit Brexit’s ‘chief clown’.
He said: “Nigel Farage facing some stiff competition as chief clown of the Brexit Party in the [European Parliament].
‘By the way, when Widdecombe talks about “colonies liberating themselves from their empires”, is she really referring to the American Revolution of 1776?’
Ms Widdecombe also said that in the space of just two days she had already witnessed the ‘powers that be’ deciding to reduce the permissible size of the mesh used in fishermen’s nets ‘thereby reducing their income by 40 per cent’.
She added: ‘That is what you do here. That is why we are going… We are off!’
The Brexit Party’s European adventure got off to a chaotic start on Tuesday as its MEPs arrived for the start of the new European Parliament session and immediately kicked off a row by turning their backs as the EU anthem was played.
The 29 politicians elected in May’s shock election result deliberately turned away as Beethoven’s Ode to Joy was played in the parliamentary building in Strasbourg.
It came as Mr Farage warned of a ‘turquoise takeover’ in the UK if Brexit did not happen by October 31.
Nigel Farage, pictured alongside fellow Brexit Party MEPs Ms Widdecombe and Richard Tice on Tuesday, will be hoping to be out of a job by the end of October – the UK’s current deadline for leaving the EU
Von der Leyen ‘hid in London from terrorists in the 1970s’
Incoming European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has revealed she spent a year in London in the 1970s hiding from notorious German communist terrorists.
She spent 12 months in the ‘seething, international, colourful city’ to avoid the baader-Meinhof Gang, a hard Left group that carried out a string of bomb attacks and assassinations.
While in Britain she called herself Rose Ladson – the name of her American great-grandmother – to avoid detection.
The revelation came as European Council President Donald Tusk asked the European Parliament to approve her appointment as the next president of the European Commission.
‘For the first time, we achieved perfect gender balance in the top positions. Europe is not only talking about women, it is choosing women,’ Mr Tusk told MEPs today – they will vote on her appointment later this month.
In a swipe at Tory leadership rivals Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt over their Brexit stances he told the Telegraph: ‘I have to be honest with you, I don’t believe a word they say.
‘But I will give them this warning: If they don’t deliver Brexit on that date they are toast and you will see a turquoise takeover.’
Both Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt have committed to delivering Brexit by Halloween but the latter has suggested he would agree to a slight delay if more time was needed to secure a deal.
The display from the group including Mr Farage, Ms Widdecombe and Annunziata Rees-Mogg against the live performance of the anthem led to a stern rebuke from outgoing parliamentary president Antonio Tajani.
The British MEPs arrived in Strasbourg, the temporary home of the European Parliament before it returns to Brussels, for what could be their shortest session as European politicians.
Once Brexit occurs they will immediately cease to represent the UK, and so could be out of a job by the end of October.