02/02/2017 14:47 GMT

Nigel Farage Sign Accuser, MEP Seb Dance, Says He Did Stunt To 'Challenge Nationalists' Lies'

'They're liars'.

The MEP who trolled Nigel Farage with a sign saying “HE’S LYING” has defended himself, saying politicians “must be more willing to challenge the nationalists and populists”.

Labour’s Seb Dance was condemned by Ukip for his stunt as Farage spoke in the European Parliament on Wednesday about Donald Trump’s Muslim ban.

Dance was behind Farage, within the shot on the parliament’s feed, as the ex-Ukip leader attacked the “faux outrage” about Trump’s order to ban people from seven Muslim countries entering the US.

European Parliament
Seb Dance holds a sign as Nigel Farage speaks

He was remonstrated by a parliament officials for the stunt but has since defended himself, saying he was protesting “ the only way I knew how”.

“Mainstream politicians must be more willing to challenge the nationalists and the populists,” he said, in a statement.

“They pretend to stand up for people who are suffering but their diet of hate, division and suspicion create only misery and poverty. It’s time to stop the nuanced language: They’re liars.”

Dance hit out at how Farage “is regularly treated to free coverage” because he leads the EFDD, Ukip’s European Parliamentary group, and, as such, is permitted several minutes to speak uninterrupted.

“Ukip often use these clips in isolation on social media,” Dance said.

John Stillwell/PA Wire
Dance said 'mainstream politicians must be more willing to challenge the nationalists and the populists'

“When debates are time-limited it is impossible to challenge what he’s saying, so I protested in the only way I knew how at that point, which was to grab a piece of paper, write a very simple message on it and sit behind Nigel Farage during his usual diatribe.”

Writing in The Guardian on Thursday, Dance said: “I decided I had to try to do something and, noticing the empty chair behind him, I made a sudden decision to grab a piece of paper and scrawl a simple message on it.

“It wasn’t particularly sophisticated, nor – as I may find out rather soon – was it particularly parliamentary behaviour.

“But parliamentary rules are often bent by Ukip and other groups on the right and far right, and above all I felt the urgent need to convey my simple message.”

Ukip MEP Bill Etheridge said the sign was “personally defamatory” of Farage and put a complaint in writing to the parliament’s president about it.