WATCH: Donald Tusk stuns Westminster as he says there is a 'special place in hell' for Brexiteers
There is a “special place in hell” for pro-Brexit figures who pushed for Britain to quit the EU without a plan for how to do so, Donald Tusk has said.
The European Council boss said the EU would not be making “any new offer” to the UK on the controversial Northern Irish backstop, and warned that it was preparing for the "possible fiasco" of a no-deal Brexit.
He made the comments just a day after Theresa May heads to Brussels to try and renegotiate the so-called backstop plan, amid turmoil over Brexit at Westminster.
Mr Tusk told a press conference: "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."
But his comments were quickly condemned by pro-Brexit figures from different parties at Westminster.
DUP Brexit spokesperson Sammy Wilson said Mr Tusk - who he branded a "devilish, trident wielding, euro maniac" - had shown “contempt” for Britain’s 17.4 million Leave voters.
“This devilish euro maniac is doing his best to keep the United Kingdom bound by the chains of EU bureaucracy and control," he fumed in a statement.
“It is Tusk and his arrogant EU negotiators who have fanned the flames of fear in an attempt to try and overturn the result of the referendum.”
Tory MP Peter Bone meanwhile branded the statement a “completely outrageous insult” in a complaint to the Speaker of the House of Commons.
And a spokesman for Downing Street said: "It's a question for Donald Tusk as to whether he considers the use of that type of language to be helpful and I appreciate that was difficult this morning as he didn't take any questions."
He added: “We had a robust and lively referendum campaign in this country in what was the largest democratic exercise in our history.
"People voted to leave the European Union and what everybody should be focused on now is delivering on the verdict of the British people soo we can leave the EU in an orderly way and with a deal that is in the best interests of the UK and the European Union.”
The backstop – which would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU until an alternative can be found to keep an open border in Ireland – has proven a major sticking point in Mrs May being able to win support for her deal in Parliament.
She will travel to Brussels tomorrow in a last-ditch bid to secure concessions from the bloc that she can sell to pro-Brexit figures in her party, as well as her confidence and supply partners the DUP.
But Mr Tusk said: "The position of the EU27 is clear, as expressed in the documents agreed with the UK Government - that is the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration."
He argued the UK would “leave the EU as a trusted friend” if it can give a deliverable guarantee for peace in Northern Ireland.
"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,” he added.
"I strongly believe that a common solution is possible and I will do everything in my power to find it."
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