Longtime Brexit Supporter Gloats at European Parliament, 'You're Not Laughing Now'

British PM David Cameron also to meet with European Parliament.

ByLena Masri
June 28, 2016, 9:13 AM

LONDON— -- It was an awkward meeting in Belgium.

Nigel Farage, leader of the U.K. Independence Party (Ukip), who supports the British exit from the European Union, gloated over his country's vote Thursday to leave the bloc when he spoke in front of members of the European Parliament today.

"Isn't it funny,” he said in opening remarks at the European headquarters in Brussels. “When I came here 17 years ago and said I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the Europeans Union, you all laughed at me. Well, you're not laughing now."

The U.K. will not be the last country to leave the E.U., he added, while recommending a “grownup and sensible attitude” to how to “negotiate a different relationship.”

“Now, I know that virtually none of you has ever done a proper job in your life or worked in business or worked in trade or indeed ever created a job,” he said.

Many politicians reacted with boos and laughter, as Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, interrupted Farage and urged his fellow E.U. politicians to remain calm.

“Just a second, ladies and gentlemen. I understand that you’re getting emotional, but you’re acting like Ukip normally acts in this chamber, so please don’t imitate them,” Schulz told the crowd in German. “Mr. Farage, however, I would say one thing to you. The facts that you’re claiming that nobody has done a decent job in their life; you can’t really say that.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to face the same E.U. leaders in Brussels today for the first time since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

Several E.U. leaders said earlier today it is too soon to have talks about a British exit. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, told the European Parliament that the U.K. and the E.U. are still friends but that the U.K. needs to "clarify its position" on leaving the EU.

German chancellor Angela Merkel also said talks with the U.K. can't start until the country formally starts the procedure to leave the E.U. and that it is in the U.K.'s interest to continue to have a close relationship with the union even after an exit.

She also made it clear that the U.K. can't keep all the privileges of being a member of the E.U. if it leaves.

"We will make sure that negotiations will not be carried out as a cherry-picking exercise," she said. "Whoever wants to leave this family cannot expect to shed all its responsibilities but keep the privileges.”

The vote to leave the U.K. will only happen once the British parliament votes to repeal the 1972 act that allowed the U.K. to join the E.U. They have to invoke "Article 50" of the Lisbon treaty, which sets out how an E.U. member can leave the bloc.

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