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The Brexit Party leader was reacting after quotes attributed to Mr Barnier were tweeted by the European Democrats, the political group to which he belongs. Mr Barnier lamented the difficulty of trade negotiations between the UK and the EU, which have been complicated still further by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s publication of the Internal Market Bill, which will override some aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement in relation to Northern Ireland.

He said: “Beyond these negotiations, in order to establish relations with a future third country, without which we will not be able to face certain global challenges, the issue at stake is also about the forces at work.

“Farage simply wanted to destroy us”.

Mr Farage, whose Brexit Party won 29 seats in the European Parliament prior to the UK finally quitting the bloc on January 31, was quick to respond.

Barnier says ‘Farage simply wanted to destroy us’ and he’s absolutely right

Nigel Farage

He said: “Barnier says ‘Farage simply wanted to destroy us’ and he’s absolutely right.”

However, he also spelled out his reasons, explaining: “I believe in independent, democratic nations in Europe being friends and trading with each other – not the new Soviet Union in Brussels.”

Lance Forman, who served alongside Mr Farage as an MEP, suggested the EU’s days were numbered irrespective of anything his former party leader did.

He said: “To be honest the EU don’t need Nigel Farage to destroy them.

“The Euro will be even more effective. All in good time.”

Mr Farage’s tweet follows a column in the Daily Telegraph earlier this month in which he also trained his sights on Mr Barnier.

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He wrote: “If the British are now defending the national interest, Barnier at no stage has defended the national interest of any member state, any industry or group of workers.

“For him, this whole negotiation has had nothing to do with Europeans, but everything to do with the power in Brussels.

“It was always about the EU, always about the power of the institution and not about the member states it shamelessly claims to represent.”

There have been suggestions in recent days that Mr Barnier may even be sidelined in favour of bilateral negotiations between the UK and individual member states.

Lee Rotherham, who was Director of Special Projects at Vote Leave, told Express.co.uk last week: “There has already been talk of Merkel and Boris having a head-to-head.

“And it says everything about Barnier and nothing about Frost if that happens – although that’s speculation.

“But that’s how you do it – you fix the problem, and Barnier has always been the problem.”

Nevertheless Eric Mamer, chief spokesman for the European Commission, indicated the Frenchman remained in control as he briefed reporters on Friday the day after Mr Johnson agreed to table an amendment to the UK Internal Market Bill allowing MPs a vote before the Government can use powers permitted within the legislation.

Mr Mamer insisted the EU carries out negotiations in “good faith”, after the Prime Minister told MPs on Wednesday he did not believe they had acted as such in the Brexit talks.

He explained: “I think that Michel Barnier showed, in the context of the negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement, that even on extremely complex and politically sensitive issues the Commission and indeed the EU negotiate in perfectly good faith.”

In respect to the controversial legislation, Mr Mamer added: “We have as you know set out a position extremely clearly, it is in our statement, and it relates to those clauses being withdrawn from the law.

“That position has not changed and we have asked the UK to do this at the earliest possible convenience, and by the end of September at the latest. That has not changed.”

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