Nigel Farage has been ridiculed by an EU Brexit chief over his decision not to stand as an MP in the upcoming general election.
The European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, poked fun at the Brexit Party leader on Twitter. On Sunday, Mr Farage said he would not be standing as a candidate in the general election on December 12.
Mr Verhofstadt said: “Quite ironical that European affairs are more important to Nigel Farage than the politics of Great Britain.”
He added: “A pity, his departure would have been an enormous saving of European taxpayer's money.”
Under his comments, Mr Verhofstadt posted a video clip from the European Parliament in 2012, in which he said Mr Farage’s salary as an MEP was the “biggest waste of money”.
Last month, Mr Verhofstadt also trolled prime minister Boris Johnson over his “dead in a ditch” comments about leaving the EU by October 31.
Quite ironical that European affairs are more important to Nigel Farage than the politics of Great Britain. A pity, his departure would have been an enormous saving of European taxpayer's money 😉 pic.twitter.com/j4ePhpHMsv— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) November 4, 2019
He told BBC’s Andrew Marr he had thought “very hard” about standing but decided against it.
“I don’t want to be in politics for the rest of my life,” he said.
Mr Farage has had seven failed attempts to become an MP at elections and by-elections.
Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice said on Monday that Mr Farage’s decision not to stand was “brave”.
He told Sky News: “Of all the politicians in this country, there is no one braver or more courageous than Nigel."
"Of all the politicians in this country, there is no one braver or more courageous than Nigel."@TiceRichard denies that Nigel Farage's decision not to stand as an MP is because he's scared of losing. JM #KayBurley #AtBreakfast pic.twitter.com/gds4rvmhNL— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) November 4, 2019
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described Mr Farage’s decision as “a bit weird”, given that the Brexit Party plans to run candidates in more than 600 constituencies.
On Monday, Mr Farage warned his party will hurt Labour in “the most extraordinary way” in the election.
Tories are furious with his plans to contest almost every seat. The Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg warned the Brexit Party leader was in danger of snatching “defeat from the jaws of victory” if he persisted with his plan.
But former Ukip leader Mr Farage said that his “number one target” would be Labour Leave voters who had been “completely betrayed” by their party.
He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I led Ukip into the 2015 general election. I had all the same stuff, all the same arguments. The Tory tribe screaming and shouting, ‘Don’t take our votes’.
“The Ukip vote took more votes from Labour than it did from the Conservatives, (David) Cameron wouldn’t have even got a majority without Ukip.
“We are going to hurt the Labour Party in the most extraordinary way. We’ll do it in South Wales, we’ll do it in the Midlands, we’ll do it in the north of England.
“Those Labour voters have been completely betrayed by the Labour Party. They are my number one target. I got those votes in 2015, I’ll do it again.”
Last week, Mr Johnson rejected Mr Farage’s offer of a pact with the Tories if he dropped his Brexit deal.
Mr Rees-Mogg said that Mr Farage should recognise the time had come to “retire from the field”.
He told LBC radio: “I think he would be well-advised to recognise that that battle he won. He should be really proud of his political career.
“It would be a great shame if he carries on fighting after he has already won to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
“I understand why Nigel Farage would want to carry on campaigning because he has been campaigning for the best part of 30 years and it must be hard to retire from the field. But that is what he ought to do.”