Nigel Farage gave a tub-thumping speech about border controls in the European Parliament on Wednesday, blissfully unaware a Labour MEP was holding a sign behind him saying “HE’S LYING TO YOU”.
As Farage shouted in the chamber during a debate on border control in the US, Seb Dance sat behind him, holding the sign that also helpfully had an arrow pointing to Farage.
Ukip immediately hit back, with MEP Bill Etheridge making an official complaint to the parliament’s president.
His letter accused Dance of making a “personally defamatory” remark.
Adam Payne, a reporter for Business Insider, shared the letter, which said: “The officials failed to remove him until the end of the speech and when I raised the matter it was not treated with sufficient seriousness by the acting chair.”
Meanwhile, Dance was gleefully retweeting the journalists who were sharing a still from the European Parliament’s feed of the offending sign, including one by Der Spiegel saying he had “trolled” Farage.
Duncan Robinson, the FT’s Brussels correspondent, said Dance was later “told off by a man in white tie”.
Farage looked rather more sheepish than he had during his speech.
Etheridge hit out at Dance’s behaviour and said he “had a few” signs he could hold up at Labour in response.
Dance later told the Guardian his “frustration” at Farage’s “populist messages being paraded around as if they were the solution to people’s problems” had a “screw it moment.”
“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 unnuanced to point out something I think is happening.”