War of words over Tusk’s ‘hell’ comments on Brexit

Tusk alluded to ‘a special place in hell’ for ‘those who promoted Brexit’ without delivery plan.

LONDON: A war of words began Wednesday after the EU Council President Donald Tusk spoke of a “special place in hell” for “those who promoted Brexit” without a proper plan to deliver it.

“It’s a question for Donald Tusk as to whether he considers the use of that sort of language to be helpful – and I appreciate that was difficult this morning, because he didn’t take any questions,” Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said of Tusk’s remarks.

“People voted to leave the European Union, and what everybody should be focused upon now is delivering the verdict of the British people, so we can leave the EU in an orderly way, and with a deal that is in the best interests of the UK and the EU,” he added.

Tusk’s comments came earlier Wednesday in a news conference with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Brussels.

British government’s de facto partner, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Sammy Wilson, accused Tusk of being a “devilish euromaniac” who is “doing his best” to keep the U.K. in the EU against the will of Brits who voted to leave.

“All he will succeed in doing is stiffening the resistance of those who have exercised their choice to be clear of Tusk and his Trident wielding cabal,” Wilson added.

Prominent Leave campaigner and former leader of populist U.K. Independence Party Nigel Farage went further in his disdain for Tusk’s comments.

“After Brexit we will be free of unelected, arrogant bullies like you and run our own country,” he said.

Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom said Tusk should apologize.

It was “pretty disgraceful,” “completely unacceptable” and “spiteful”.

Support for Tusk

But not everyone trounced Tusk. Mary Lou McDonald, the second biggest Northern Irish party Sinn Fein’s president, backed his remarks.

“You are not going to convince me that anything Donald Tusk says could further harden the position of the Boris Johnsons’ or the Rees-Moggs’ of this world.

“They are people who have acted with absolute contempt for this country, utter disregard for the experiences of Irish people north and south, with utter disregard for the peace process that has been collectively built over decades.

“Their position is the most hardline of hardline, it is their language that is intemperate and it is their position that is untenable,” she said.

The Sinn Fein and the DUP are on the other ends in Northern Ireland politics and the are feared to be starting a new spat in relations between the two parties who have been at odds on issues such as the reconstruction of the region’s devolved government and Brexit.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) also joined in defending Tusk.

“The charlatans and chancers who led the Leave campaign did not even have the decency to set out their plans before the vote, which has led directly to the uncertainty and damage that we face today,” said SNP’s foreign affairs and Europe spokesman Stephen Gethins.

“We are facing the worst crisis in peace-time because of senior government figures failing to hold themselves to account for their actions or have a plan for what comes next other than holding the Tory party together,” he said.

Tusk’s remarks are a bombshell a day before May’s visit to Brussels to meet EU officials, including Tusk.

She will try to convince the EU to consider “alternative arrangements” that would replace the “backstop” clause – an article because of which most of the MPs voted down May’s withdrawal agreement Jan. 15.

The EU officials have repeatedly said they would not renegotiate the withdrawal agreement.

The UK is set to leave the EU on March 29.

Source: Anadolu Agency