- European Council President Donald Tusk makes inflammatory remarks about those backing Brexit in the UK.
- He says there is a “special place in hell” for those who campaigned for Brexit without an exit plan.
- Tusk also lashes out at those who failed to persuade the British people to stay in the UK, saying there is “no effective leadership for Remain.
- He also rules out renegotiating May’s Brexit deal ahead of her arrival in Brussels.
LONDON – European Council President Donald Tusk has lashed out at Brexit campaigners in the United Kingdom, saying there is now a “special place in hell” for those who campaigned to leave the European Union without a plan.
“I’ve been wondering what that special place in hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely,” Tusk said at a joint press conference in Brussels with the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Wednesday.
He was immediately accused of showing “contempt” for those who voted for Brexit.
“Donald Tusk one again shows his contempt for the 17.4 million people who voted to escape the corruption of the EU and seek the paradise of a free and prosperous kingdom,” Democratic Unionist Party MP Sammy Wilson said in a statement.
“This devilish euro maniac is doing his best to keep the United Kingdom bound by the chains of EU bureaucracy and control.”
A spokesman for Theresa May said: “It’s a question for Donald Tusk as to whether he considers the use of that sort of language to be helpful. I appreciate that was difficult this morning, because he didn’t take any questions.”
Tusk also used his statement to criticisethose who had failed to persuade the UK public to remain in the EU.
“I know that still a very great number of people in the UK, and on the continent, as well as in Ireland, wish for a reversal of this decision. I have always been with you, with all my heart,” he said.
“But the facts are unmistakable. At the moment, the pro-Brexit stance of the UK prime minister, and the Leader of the Opposition, rules out this question.
“Today, there is no political force and no effective leadership for Remain. I say this without satisfaction, but you can’t argue with the facts.”
Prime Minister May is due to arrive in Brussels for talks with senior EU leaders on Thursday, following the rejection of her Brexit deal with the EU by the UK House of Commons earlier this month.
However, Tusk ruled out any prospect of renegotiating the Brexit deal, saying it was “not open for renegotiation.”
He added that he hoped May would arrive for talks with a “sensible” suggestion to “break the impasse.”
Following Tusk’s comments a microphone picked up Irish Prime Minister Varadkar telling him he would face “terrible trouble in the British press” for them.
The row comes as the prime minister prepares for a new set of parliamentary votes on Brexit next week.
May lost a vote on her Brexit deal by a majority of 230 votes last month and has yet to confirm when the deal will be brought back before the Commons.
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