The head of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage, a leading voice for the successful referendum campaign to pull Britain out of the European Union, said Tuesday he would not give up his seat in the bloc's legislature.
"The European Parliament is going to have a say that will be part of the Brexit debate. I lead the biggest British delegation in the European Parliament, I am not going to run away," Farage said on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels on the so-called Brexit.
Earlier Tuesday, Farage was sharply criticized by fellow EU lawmakers for his anti-EU stance in a raucous debate that preceded the meeting between British Prime Minister David Cameron and his 27 EU counterparts.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also spoke in parliament. Addressing Farage, he said: "To some extent I'm really surprised that you are here. You were fighting for the exit, the British people voted in favour of the exit, why are you here?"
Amid uncertainty over the timing of Britain's departure from the EU and its future status, Farage said that following the model of Norway - which has to comply with most EU regulation and pay into its budget in return for access to its single market - was "not an option."
He said a no-deal scenario - whereby Britain's trade with the EU would be subject to tariffs under World Trade Organization rules - would "hurt more" the EU than Britain - a controversial assertion disputed by most analysts.
"There are no losses for us," the UKIP leader said. "I hope we can all be grown up, pragmatic and sensible and reach a tariff-free deal ... that would be the best for everybody," he added.