UK Independence Party MEP Nigel Farage has shocked the European Parliament with a savage personal attack on the EU's new full-time President Herman van Rompuy.
Mr Farage slammed the former Belgian Prime Minister's appearance, personality, pay packet and country, and accused him of plotting the overthrow of the nation state.
Mr Van Rompuy, who had just made his first speech to MEPs since being appointed by EU leaders to the newly created top job, sat in amazement and obvious discomfort, settling for a half-grin and grimace as the tirade went on.
To gasps from other MEPs in the less-than-full chamber, Mr Farage told Mr Van Rompuy that he possessed "all the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk".
Afterwards the Socialist leader in the Parliament, Germany's Martin Schulz, condemned Mr Farage for "trampling on the dignity of the House".
And Mr Van Rompuy, low-key and notoriously camera-shy, responded that he held Mr Farage's remarks "in contempt", and refused to say more.
Mr Farage declared: "We were told that when we had a president, we'd see a giant global political figure, a man who would be the political leader for 500 million people, the man that would represent all of us all of us on the world stage, the man whose job was so important that of course you're paid more than President Obama."
He continued: "Well, I'm afraid what we got was you........I don't want to be rude but, really, you have the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk and the question I want to ask is: who are you? - I'd never heard of you, nobody in Europe had ever heard of you."
Mr Farage went on: "I can speak on behalf of the majority of British people in saying that we don't know you, we don't want you and the sooner you are put out to grass, the better."