British politicians voiced their opinions on February 7th over controversial Brexit comments made by European Council President Donald Tusk during a news conference in Brussels the previous day.
Tusk made a statement after talks with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Brussels on February 6th. He said he was “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.”
According to the BBC, Brexit-backing MPs reacted with anger to the comments, accusing Tusk of "arrogance.”
May's spokesman suggested Tusk should rethink “whether he considers the use of that kind of language helpful.” Brexit campaigners were franker, calling Tusk a "bully" and a "devilish euro maniac,” Reuters reported.
Nigel Farage, one of the most prominent pro-Brexit campaigners in Britain, responded within minutes on Twitter: "After Brexit we will be free of unelected, arrogant bullies like you and run our own country. Sounds more like heaven to me."
On the other hand, Brexit opponents rallied behind Tusk. Irish Sinn Fein party leader Mary Lou McDonald backed Tusk, saying it was the position of "hardline" Brexit-supporting MPs that was "intemperate" and "untenable".
McDonald also echoed Tusk’s remarks that maintaining peace on the island of Ireland in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement was a top priority.
Opposition Labour party MP Ben Bradshaw said Tusk was "absolutely right" and it was "painful" for leading figures in the Leave campaign, such as Boris Johnson and David Davis, "to have the truth pointed out to them".
EU officials explained that Tusk’s latest scripted comments revealed both the frustration among the national leaders he speaks for after the negotiated deal was rejected in the UK parliament and also anger over an apparent willingness to risk jobs and peace while blaming EU "intransigence.”
Britain's Cabinet Office minister David Lidington said in a BBC radio interview, "I would tell him it wasn't the most brilliant diplomacy in the world."
Lidington also said the comments did not mean Tusk was criticising UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May, before reminding listeners not to judge hastily. "Anybody who has watched the House of Commons from time to time knows that intemperate and exaggerated language isn't something that only comes out of Brussels. I think Mr Tusk was venting yesterday."
Tusk is hosting May in Brussels on Thursday, February 7th, during her visit to plead with EU leaders to change the Brexit deal which was negotiated last year, in order to have it voted it through UK parliament.