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EU president Tusk bemoans lack of anti-Brexit leadership

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EU president Tusk bemoans lack of anti-Brexit leadership

Varadkar - Tusk - Photo © European Union

(BRUSSELS) - 50 days before Britain is due to leave the EU Council president Donald Tusk said many British and Irish people who wished for a reversal of Brexit lacked effective leadership and the political force to remain.

Mr Tusk also targeted the right-wing so-called 'Brexiters' in the UK, saying he had 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".

Mr Tusk was meeting Ireland's Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Brussels, with a view to discussing the latest Brexit developments in London, and options for preventing a no-deal-scenario viewed with dread by so many politicians and businesspeople in the UK and other European countries.

Despite clear sympathy with the cause of the anti-Brexit campaigners in Britain, he said the facts were unmistakable: "At the moment, the pro-Brexit stance of the UK Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition, rules out this question".

With prime minister Theresa May on her way to Brussels Thursday for another attempt to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement - soundly rejected by MPs in the House of Commons - both Mr Varadkar and Mr Tusk made clear that the EU was standing by the Withdrawal Agreement that was negotiated and agreed by the EU 28 states, including the United Kingdom, and was "the best deal possible".

The agreement was not open for re-negotiation, he said, but he held out hope that he might hear from Mrs May "a realistic suggestion on how to end the impasse, in which the process of the orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU has found itself, following the latest votes in the House of Commons".

The top priority for the EU 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."

The EU continues to insist on the backstop, he said, because, "the EU itself is first and foremost a peace project. We will not gamble with peace; or put a sell-by date on reconciliation."

However, the EU was prepared for "a possible fiasco", he added, as Mr Varadkar prepared to move on to discussions with the European Commission about plans in case of no deal.

Mr Tusks' remarks may be intended to spur the campaigners for a 'People's Vote' referendum into stronger action on behalf of the 63 per cent of the British population that did not vote for Brexit in 2016.

It certainly drew the venom of one of the Brexiters Mr Tusk would doubtless have been thinking of. Nigel Farage, a Member of the European Parliament, and former leader of the UK Independence Party, tweeted: "After Brexit we will be free of unelected, arrogant bullies like you and run our own country. Sounds more like heaven to me."

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