Katy Balls Katy Balls

The most revealing part of Tusk’s press conference wasn’t about Brexiteers going to hell

Westminster is in a flurry this afternoon over Donald Tusk’s comments at a press conference this morning with Leo Varadkar. The European Council president used the platform to declare that he had been pondering of late what that ‘special place in hell’ for ‘those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it safely’ looked like. Tusk even went on to tweet out his comments – just in case anyone had missed the moment in the conference. Adding insult to injury the EU Council president has also been caught on mic laughing about the likely angry response from the British.

Tusk is at least right that his latest outburst has landed badly in the UK – with Andrea Leadsom the first Cabinet Minister to publicly criticise him in response. At a time when EU officials and leaders – including Angela Merkel – have been calling for compromise and goodwill on both sides to resolve the remaining issues and achieve a deal, Tusk’s comments appear to do the opposite. However, the most telling part of the press conference actually relates to something else he said. We already knew that Tusk isn’t much of a fan of Brexit – nor the people who campaigned for it. What is new is Tusk saying that those pushing for a second referendum – or simply for the UK to remain in the EU – are misguided:

‘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.

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.

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