FURIOUS Italian voters have branded the eurosceptic Five Star Movement “sell-outs” after the party announced it is quitting Ukip’s grouping in the European Union parliament and joining the Brussels federalists.
Supporters of the anti-euro movement, which has enjoyed a popularity surge in recent polls, said they were “so disappointed” by the decision and accused its leaders of caving into pressure from the EU establishment.
Leader Beppe Grillo, a former comedian, announced the party would be hooking up with Guy Verhofstadt’s liberals from this morning following an online vote he held on his own website.
But the party faithful immediately questioned the validity of the poll, pointing out that only 40,000 votes were cast while the Five Star Movement (M5S) has a total membership of more than 135,000.
It was also not immediately clear what security arrangements were put in place to ensure the integrity of the vote, carried out on Mr Grillo’s personal blog site.
The decision drew a scathing rebuke from former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who said his one-time ally had abandoned his principles and “joined the EU establishment”.
He blasted: “Beppe Grillo will now join the Euro-fanatic establishment of ALDE which supports TTIP, mass immigration and an EU Army, but oppose direct democracy.”