Watch: HMRC gatecrash - "We'll set the dogs on you"

Black tie protesters crash HMRC boss' retirement party.

Former HMRC boss Dave Hartnett was in the middle of a speech at a gala dinner on Thursday when a group of black-tie clad protesters walked in. Here's what happened:

The group of protesters, who call themselves WeAreTheIntruders, were referring to HMRC's "sweetheart" deals with businesses over taxes, which stirred up controversy after a whistleblower accused the company of saving Goldman Sachs £20m on an outstanding tax bill, and Vodaphone up to £8bn in taxes though a £1.25bn settlement. HMRC was cleared of the charges by the National Audit Office, but was warned over suspicious relationships with companies.

As they were ejected from the dinner, one diner was heard saying he'd "set the dogs on them".


Protesters posed as members of Goldman Sachs. Photograph, Getty Images
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En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.