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Nigel Farage's Eurosceptic EU parliament group has collapsed

It puts UKIP at risk of losing millions of euros in funding from Brussels.

Nigel won't be too happy.
Nigel won't be too happy.
Image: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

BRITISH EUROSCEPTIC LEADER Nigel Farage’s group in the European parliament has collapsed, ending a short-lived alliance that he formed with Italian populist Beppe Grillo after elections in May.

The demise of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group came after a Latvian legislator pulled out. That meant the group no longer had members from the minimum required seven countries.

It also meant UKIP, which won its first seat in the British parliament in a historic by-election last week, could lose out on millions of euros of political funding from Brussels.

Parliamentary spokesman Jaume Duch said:

After a strong performance in May’s European parliament elections, fuelled by growing discontent across a continent suffering from a stalling economy and high unemployment Farage gathered 48 MEPs to form the group.

UKIP members make up the largest contingent, followed by 17 from Italian comedian Grillo’s populist Five Star movement.

A furious Farage accused European Parliament leaders of “political blackmail”.

He said European parliament president Martin Schulz and the head of the centre-right European People’s Party, Manfred Weber, had told Grigule she had to resign to secure the leadership of a parliamentary delegation to Kazakhstan.

President Schulz would be more suited to being the president of a parliament in a banana republic,” Farage said. He claimed:

It would seem he has exceeded his role that should apply to a neutral chairman or president of a parliament. I believe this is an example of political bias on an extraordinary scale.

Speaking to BBC News, Schulz denied these allegations.

The European People’s Party, which is the largest group in the Brussels parliament, celebrated the collapse of Farage’s group.

© AFP 2014

Read: Britain’s first Ukip MP has been sworn in – and he looks pretty happy about it >

More: Nigel Farage is Europe’s unlikely Ryder Cup cheerleader >

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