Feb. 6 (UPI) — European Council President Donald Tusk drew ire from Brexit supporters Wednesday by suggesting there was a “special place in hell” for those driving Britain’s departure from the European Union without a plan.
Tusk made the comments after meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Brussels. Britain is expected to leave the European Union next month and is currently has no signed exit plan. That has shaken many businesses, including those who are threatening to leave Britain or already have because of the uncertainty.
“By the way, 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 in his statement.
The comments brought condemnation from numerous officials around Britain.
“Donald Tusk once again shows his contempt for the 17.4 million people who voted to escape the corruption of the EU and seek paradise of a free and prosperous Kingdom,” Member of Parliament Sammy Wilson said on Twitter.
“This devilish euro manic is doing his best to keep the United Kingdom bound by the chains of the EU bureaucracy and control,” Wilson added.
Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons and a prominent Brexit supporter, told the BBC that Tusk was a man with “no manners.” She added that the comments were “extremely regrettable, not at all helpful.”
Another House of Commons Brexit backer, Peter Bone, said Tusk’s comments were a “completely outrageous insult,” The Guardian reported. “I don’t recall any president insulting members of this House, members of the government and the British people in such a way.”
Others, like Scottish National Party representative Stephen Gethins, said Tusk had a point.
“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,” Gethins said. “The council president has hit the nail on the head with his remarks.”
Others said that Tusk’s comments were targeted at politicians who pushed the Brexit deal and not the British voters to passed the measure, suggesting they were duped into thinking that leaving the EU would be simple and easy.
While doubling down on the EU’s position that it will not renegotiate with Britain, Tusk appeared to give the country a way out if it continued to work on settling the issue of what a border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic might look like.
“The top priority for us, remains the issue of the border on the island of Ireland, and the guarantee to maintain the peace process in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement,” Tusk said, referencing the 1998 peace accord that ended decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. “… We will not gamble with peace; or put a sell-by date on reconciliation. And this is why we insist on the backstop.
“Give us a believable guarantee for peace in Northern Ireland, and the UK will leave the EU as a trusted friend. I hope that the UK government will present ideas that will both respect this point of view and, at the same time, command a stable and clear majority in the House of Commons.”