MEPs from the UK's Brexit party turned their backs on the European anthem as the European Parliament opened its inaugural session in the eastern French city of Strasbourg on Tuesday.
The 29 UK deputies from the party of pro-Brexit firebrand Nigel Farage turned away from a performance of Beethoven's “Ode to Joy” by several musicians in the 751-seat chamber.
This is the kind of childish representation we'll be getting from Brexit Party MEPs in the European Parliament… pic.twitter.com/7FIGsI89Y5
— Our Future, Our Choice (@OFOCBrexit) July 2, 2019
The act sparked anger from many politicians and political commentators on social media.
Brexit Party MEPs turning their backs on Europe, as they do their best to isolate the UK from the world. This is petty, small minded little England at its worst. These plonkers do a proud and open nation a disservice. Shame on them. pic.twitter.com/Lbg1b9Gcbg
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) July 2, 2019
They won't be turning their backs on their salaries though.
Brexit Party MEPs turn their backs on EU's 'Ode to Joy' anthem in European Parliament https://t.co/U2iCAV8Ax6
— fidelma cook (@fidelmacook) July 2, 2019
MEPs from @brexitparty_uk turn their back as the EUropean anthem is played in the European Parliament. “You stand for the anthem of another country,” chides EP Pres @Antonio_Tajani pic.twitter.com/tXsYRHf7Wk
— Adam Fleming (@adamfleming) July 2, 2019
If some overseas football fans did that to the English national anthem before a match, my guess is many of those same Brexit Party MEPs would be puce and apoplectic at the perceived lack of respect. https://t.co/O4OITKFd2z
— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) July 2, 2019
One Brexit MEP Dr David Bull defended the act by saying the European anthem was not a national anthem that needed to be defended but a “federal anthem”.
?️“It’s petty, what you’ve just done”
?️“It’s not an national anthem, it’s a federal anthem” pic.twitter.com/GlqnFXdXNK
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) July 2, 2019
As could be expected the stunt went down well with pro-Brexit groups like Leave.EU who called the European Union “corrupt”.
WATCH | Brilliant to see Brexit Party MEPs showing the corrupt European Union the contempt it deserves ? Keep it up and get Britain out!
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) July 2, 2019