|Me in the EP today in an impromptu press confernce after my meeting with President Buzek|
After I was elected to the European Parliament in 2009 I raised serious questions over the composition of the political group - EFD - that my party, UKIP chose to join.
Immediately, I identified extremist behaviour including homophobia from the Italian Co-Presidents of the group, Liga Nord. I since discovered convicted racists, anti-Semitic and further homophobia. I found it incredibly difficult to accept that my colleagues parties called for racial segregation on Italian public transport, that the gas chambers in Auschwitz were nothing more than disinfecting chambers and its former mayor of Treviso called for the "ethnic cleansing of faggots" from his city.
I tried hard to change the situation, but my protests were ignored. I felt obliged, in order to stay true to my beliefs and values, to resign from the EFD group.
As a result of this I had the UKIP whip removed, and I now sit as an independent MEP. A fellow MEP, Mike Nattrass also left the group for the same reasons as myself. He has not had the party whip removed. I will leave you do come to your own conclusions as to why that may be.
I have recently been subjected to harassment and intimidation from a number of sources. This has now spilled over into the Parliament itself, and I have today met with President Buzek, who has very kindly re-arranged his busy schedule to meet with me. He considers this a very serious matter and launched an investigation in respect of my formal complaint I have made against a fellow MEP, Godfrey Bloom.
I have been abused and intimidated by this gentleman, and my staff have had to publically endure verbal abuse attacking me.
There should be no place for harassment, for intimidation, or for homophobic abuse anywhere in our society.
These events have been deeply distressing. I am now publically calling on Mr Bloom to do the honourable thing and apologise.