European Council President Donald Tusk has said there is a “special place in hell” for Brexiteers who campaigned to leave the EU “without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it safely”.
Mr Tusk also poured cold water on Theresa May’s plan to renegotiate the controversial Northern Ireland backstop, telling reporters that the EU would “insist” on the backstop being included in any UK withdrawal deal to preserve peace.
Speaking alongside Irish premier Leo Varadkar in Brussels, he said the EU would not be making “any new offer” to Mrs May on her Brexit deal.
He 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.
“The EU27 is not making any new offer.”
The comments came after the prime minister told businesses in Belfast on Tuesday that she would be seeking “changes” to the Withdrawal Agreement, agreed with the EU in December, in a bid to win over Parliament.
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In a message to Mrs May, Mr Tusk said: “Give us a deliverable 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.
“I strongly believe that a common solution is possible and I will do everything in my power to find it.”
Mr Tusk confirmed that the EU continues to prepare for a possible no-deal outcome.
He concluded: “By the way, I have been wondering what that special place in hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan to carry it (through) safely.”
Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that while he was “open to further discussions” with the UK Government, the Withdrawal Agreement remained “the best deal possible”.
He said: “While we expect that the backstop will never be used, we agreed again today that it is needed as a legal guarantee to ensure that there is no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland while protecting the integrity of our European single market and customs union.”