A kiss and then the attack: ‘Why are you here?’ EU President asks Brexit architect

The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has turned on Nigel Farage and his fellow UKIP MEP’s, asking them: “Why are you here?” What began with an air kiss ended in a caustic verbal attack as Mr Juncker tore into Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party and major architect of the stunning Brexit vote. Mr Juncker was addressing an emergency session of the EU parliament in Brussels to discuss the referendum vote. “We must respect British democracy and the way it has expressed its view,” he said to rare applause from the UKIP members. “You are fighting for the exit. The British people voted in favour of the exit. Why are you here?”

That’s the last time you are applauding here… and to some extent I’m really surprised you are here.

Jean-Claude Juncker

Before the session started, Mr Farage was seen chatting to Mr Juncker – and received a peck on the cheek in return. Mr Juncker went on to say he is banning any in formal and secretive negotiations on Britain’s departure from the EU. He told the special session: “I want the UK to clarify its position, not today, not tomorrow at 9 am, but soon. We cannot allow ourselves to remain in a prolonged period of uncertainty.” Later, Prime Minister David Cameron will face EU leaders for the first time since British voters decided to back Brexit in last week’s referendum. He is expected to urge heads of state and EU institutions to be “constructive” about negotiations over a new relationship between the UK and Europe at a summit in Brussels.

When I came here 17 years ago and said I wanted to lead a campaign to leave the European Union, you all laughed at me. Well, you’re not laughing now.

Nigel Farage