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Debates
Wednesday, 9 October 2019 - Brussels Revised edition

Preparation of the European Council meeting of 17 and 18 October 2019 (debate)
MPphoto
 

  Guy Verhofstadt (Renew). – Madam President, I want to start by responding to Ms De Lucy, who was attacking this Parliament, saying that we are undemocratic while they are here, elected here and they are not elected in the British parliament. So who is more democratic, do you think? Who is more democratic? In your own country, neither in UKIP before Brexit has one representative in the British parliament and here you have more than, I don’t know, too many representatives. You’re saying that we are not democratic. This is crazy.

But that said, I will be less diplomatic than Mr Michel Barnier. I think that the proposal that Boris Johnson put forward exactly one week ago, was not serious at all. Not serious at all because it was, in fact, I call it a virtual proposal. It was not a real proposal. It gives a veto to the DUP in a number of issues. It is putting custom facilities, not on the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, but in all the other parts of the island of Ireland that we don’t know yet. And finally, the proposal is to downgrade the political declaration and the future relationship by undercutting, in fact by making a sort of Singapore at the sea, at the North Sea – these 20 behind me like that – , but by in fact destroying the ecological, social and labour standards. I have to tell that to Mr Richard Corbett because he’s a Labour representative. I can never understand that today there are 20 or so Labour MPs thinking to vote together with the government of the UK for such a deal. That’s the contrary of all the things that Labour has always defended in the past. I hope that this is not happening.

The real reason why this is all happening is very simple. It’s a blame-game. A blame-game against everybody, a blame-game against the Union, against Ireland, against Ms Merkel, against the British judiciary system, against Labour, against the Lib Dems, even against Mrs May. The only person who has not been blamed is Mr Johnson himself, apparently, but all the rest are the source of our problems. That is what is happening today. All those who are not playing his game are traitors or a collaborator or have surrendered. Well in my opinion, the real traitor is he or she who will risk bringing disaster upon his country, its economy and its citizens by pushing Britain out of the European Union. That’s, in my opinion, a traitor.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 171(8))

 
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