Guy Verhofstadt, the EU Parliament’s chief negotiator, savaged representatives from the European Council and threatened to start up his own talks with the UK if MEPs are not given a leading role in the Brexit process.
The row erupted after Mr Verhofstadt accused EU Council chiefs of trying to sideline the EU parliament and hand MEPs only the most minimal role in the Brexit negotiations.
But speaking at a plenary session of the EU Parliament today, Mr Verhofstadt blasted: "What they are proposing is simply to say we go forward with the Brexit negotiations without the parliament."
He then rounded on stunned EU Council official Ivan Korcok, asking him: "Are you not aware that we have to approve these arrangements?
"Do you want that we open separate negotiations with the British authorities? You can get it - if that’s what you want we’ll do it. It’s time that you also involved the parliament from day one."
Mr Verhofstadt then repeated a famous Lyndon B Johnson quote - that "it's probably better to have him inside the tent p****** out, than outside the tent p****** in" - telling Mr Korcok: "Maybe that’s a good reality that you can recall to the European Council."