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EU negotiator Guy Verhofstadt joins Lib Dems on campaign trail

File photo dated 30/01/17 of European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt, who has said that British citizens should be able to choose to keep various benefits of EU membership including the freedom of movement after Brexit. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday March 10, 2017. Mr Verhofstadt said he hoped to convince European leaders to allow Britons to keep certain rights if they apply for them on an individual basis. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

By Shaun Connolly, Press Association Political Correspondent

European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt has joined the Liberal Democrats on the campaign trail, saying they offer an "alternative to nationalism".

Mr Verhofstadt joined Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable canvassing in London on Friday as he predicted a Remain surge in upcoming European Parliament elections.

Mr Verhofstadt insisted his presence was not foreign interference in the UK's elections as he was "a Lib Dem" and backing the party because it opposed Brexit.

Sir Vince said he was campaigning to combat "ugly populism".

Mr Verhofstadt said: "I think it's important to show that the European liberals and democrats support Vince Cable.

"Support the Lib Dems in this difficult fight in Britain, in these European elections.

"Secondly, we want to show by coming here a message to the continent to say never repeat Brexit again.

"I'm a Lib Dem. It's natural that people are looking to the Lib Dems when it comes to European elections.

"We want to be the alternative for nationalism and popularism.

"What I think is there will be a huge support for Remain.

"I'm not here as a Brexit negotiator, I'm here as the leader of the liberals and democrats for Europe."

Asked if his presence could be seen as foreign interference, Mr Verhofstadt said: "This is Europe. Europe, it's all Europe."

Sir Vince said: "We are fighting nationalism.

"We are patriotic people in our different countries, but we are fighting nationalism."

The Lib Dem leader said his party was standing up "to the ugly populism that is now happening" as it campaigned ahead of the May 23 Euro poll.

Pic by Yui Mok/PA Wire

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