Five times Guy Verhofstadt has taken aim at Nigel Farage

Five times Guy Verhofstadt has taken aim at Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage has already been roundly mocked since announcing he was coming out of "semi-retirement" to front The Brexit Party.

After tweeting on Saturday morning that he would be giving his latest endeavour "both barrels" on the campaign trail, the ex-UKIP leader has been dismissed by the likes of LBC's James O'Brien for his waning influence, the insensitivity of his phrasing in light of the murder of MP Jo Cox in June 2016 and his accidental revelation that he doesn't consider his role as an elected MEP a real job.

The latest person to have a crack at the old Barbour-jacketed Europhobe is Guy Verhofstadt, the Belgian leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and a negotiator familiar to one and all as a thorn in the side of Theresa May.

Verhofstadt has been a persistent and gleeful critic of Farage and wrote on Twitter:

Nigel Farage has been an elected MEP since 1999, but now says he comes out of "semi – retirement". As I already warned in 2012, the biggest waste of EU resources is Nigel Farage's salary. Why would anyone re-elect him to this role?

The post, below in all its natural born glory, features a vintage clip of Verhofstadt taking Farage to task from the floor of the European Parliament in November 2012 for failing to turn up to gatherings of the fisheries committee and wasting everyone's time and money.

This isn't the only time the two have squared off.

Verhofstadt repeated his insult about Farage being a waste of money on Matt Frei's show on LBC in January 2017, only for Farage to call in and challenge him, insisting that his actually turning up in Brussels would be even more costly.

The pair resumed the spat in March 2018 ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia:

Verhofstadt would, sadly, prove to be right: England played Belgium twice at that summer's tournament, losing 1-0 in the group stages and 2-0 in the third place play-off.

Later that March, Farage protested the prime minister's latest Brexit deal by sailing out into the River Thames to dump a symbolic dead fish into the water to signal his disgust.

Verhoftsadt trolled him again, this time writing on Facebook:

Instead of throwing dead fish in the Thames, Nigel Farage should have done his job as a member of the fisheries committee in the European Parliament, as I told him already years ago!

More recently, the Belgian warned his colleagues against granting Britain an extension to Article 50 because it would give Farage "a new mandate", which is "exactly what he wants", elaborating:

Why he wants that? For two reasons, first of all, he can continue to have a salary that he can transfer to his offshore company.

And the second thing is that he can continue to do his dirty work in the European Union which is to try to destroy the European Union from within, that is the real purpose.

Verhofstadt has also since compared Farage to Field Marshall Haig (as played by Geoffrey Palmer) in the BBC's classic sitcom Blackadder Goes Forth, mocking his limited contribution to the grim Leaves Means Leave march from Sunderland to Westminster last month.

Their adversarial sparring has always contained more than a hint of affection, however, as revealed when Verhofstadt joked two weeks ago about the need for cross-party Conservative and Labour talks to revive the Brexit process:

The only thing that can save us now is Nigel Farage!

More: Nigel Farage criticised after claiming he has come out of 'semi-retirement'

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