British Euro MP booted from parliament in 'fascist' spat
A British Euro MP was thrown out of the European Parliament on Wednesday after calling a German colleague an "undemocratic fascist," sparking an uproar in the assembly.
The verbal dust-up between Godfrey Bloom, member of the UK Independence Party, and Germany's Martin Schulz, leader of the assembly's Socialist bloc, caused a commotion in the middle of a debate on Europe's economic crisis.
Schulz was being asked to wrap up a statement, during which he was criticising Britain's resistance to reforms, when Bloom interjected.
"He just said 'ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer,' that's what I just heard," Schulz told the 736-member parliament in Strasbourg, saying Bloom had uttered the Nazi motto "One People, One Empire, One Leader."
Parliament president Jerzy Buzek demanded that Bloom apologise, but the eurosceptic British lawmaker was unrepentent.
"The views expressed by 'Herr' Schulz make the case. He is an undemocratic fascist," Bloom told the chamber, prompting Buzek to boot him from the parliamentary session.
Buzek said: "As you know, most of the members of the chamber cannot accept your behaviour. I will therefore ask you to leave the chamber at this point."
The heads of five political groups -- including the biggest group in parliament, the conservative European People's Party -- urged Buzek to impose "a severe sanction" on Bloom.
"We can never accept that members of the European Parliament insult their colleagues in a way that recalls the worst hours of our history," the political leaders said in a statement.
The verbal volleys resumed later in the day when Bloom barged back into the chamber for a voting session.
When parliament vice president Edward McMillan-Scott demanded he apologise or leave, Bloom stood his ground.
"Yet again there is one rule for 'Herr' Schulz and one rule for everybody else," Bloom said.
"This is a disgrace! I have been elected, re-elected to vote in this chamber by the people of Yorkshire, your own constituency I might add, with a democratic mandate," he told fellow Briton McMillan-Scott, a Liberal leader.
"I have no intention of apologising, I have no intention of leaving this chamber, you must have me escorted out, sir!"
The sea of shouts that ensued forced a temporary suspension of the session until calm returned to the assembly. Bloom eventually agreed to walk out.
UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage admitted that Bloom's "jibe in the parliament may have been rash and inflammatory."
But he defended what he called Bloom's "sentiments about the formation of an undemocratic Europe."
Farage, whose party wants Britain to withdraw from the 27-nation EU, is no stranger to provocative remarks.
In February, Farage said EU President Herman Van Rompuy had "the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk."
For his part, Schulz was the target once before with a Nazi smear in 2003 when Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he would be the "perfect" fit for the "role of a kapo" in a film. Kapos were Jews in charge of policing fellow prisoners in Nazi concentration camps.
© 2010 AFP