A British MEP’s impassioned speech in the European Parliament which claimed Brexit should serve as a “cautionary tale” to Europe has gone viral after it was shared online.
Richard Ashworth received a standing ovation after giving the speech in what is expected to be one of the final debates UK parliamentarians can participate in ahead of Brexit, in the European Parliament on Wednesday.
The MEP for South East England, who had the Conservative Party whip removed after voting against Brexit proceeding to the next stage of negotiations in October, welcomed the comments made by European Council President Donald Tusk, who had called on the MEPs in Strasbourg to be open to the UK participating in the Parliament’s next term in the event of an extension.
He said: “President Tusk, on behalf of a million people on the streets in London, on behalf of 6 million people who have signed the petition, and on behalf of 63 per cent of the British population who did not vote for Brexit, I want to say thank you.
“I want to say thank you to this house for the support you’re showing, and I want to reassure you that Nigel Farage does not speak on behalf of that 63 per cent of the population.
So let Brexit stand as a cautionary tale to the people of Europe. To the people of Europe, I say this; You are the generation who have lived through the longest period of peace and the greatest level of prosperity ever. Never take it for granted. Value it. Fight for it. Defend it every day.
“May I add as a comment to the European people that, for over 25 years now no British Prime Minister ever explained to the British people what Europe did, what are the benefits, and why it matters.
“They never defended against the untruths which were spoken, and they never took ownership of the decisions that they took in Council.
“Because of that, the British press ran a 20-year campaign based on populist mistruths, lies and deceit.”
He warned that the current divided state of the UK should be a “cautionary tale” to other Europeans, saying: “The consequence of that, we see today in Britain, is a sad nation, divided like never before, and a House of Commons in crisis.
“So let Brexit stand as a cautionary tale to the people of Europe. To the people of Europe, I say this; You are the generation who have lived through the longest period of peace and the greatest level of prosperity ever.
“Never take it for granted. Value it. Fight for it. Defend it every day.”
The speech received a standing ovation in the chamber and was subsequently shared many many accounts across Europe.
The video shared from Mr Ashworth’s Twitter account has been viewed over 120,000 times, while one video with Spanish subtitles, put together by the European People’s Party bloc that he is now part of, has been viewed over 300,000 times in Spain on a number of accounts.
The MEP tweeted on Thursday that he was: “Very humbled by the response to my speech in the European Parliament yesterday. Thank you for your kind comments, which are much appreciated.”