Donald Tusk comments pour petrol onto the Brexit flames

European Council president Donald Tusk has poured petrol onto the Brexit flames by telling British MPs to explain to him "what that special place in hell looks like for people who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan".

Donald Tusk comments pour petrol onto the Brexit flames

European Council president Donald Tusk has poured petrol onto the Brexit flames by telling British MPs to explain to him "what that special place in hell looks like for people who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan".

Mr Tusk's comments ahead of British prime minister Theresa May visit to Brussels tomorrow and her arrival in Dublin on Friday.

Speaking during a short press conference in Brussels alongside Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Mr Tusk said while he is "always" with Remainers "in my heart, the facts are unavoidable".

He pointed out there is a lack of a majority for a referendum re-run in Britain and that neither Mrs May or Labour's Jeremy Corbyn are seeking a second vote.

Mr Tusk and Mr Vardakar discussed preparations for what Mr Tusk described as the "fiasco" of a no-deal Brexit on March 29.

He said "the EU27 is not making a new offer" and piled pressure on Mrs May - who is due to meet him, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier tomorrow - by saying he wants her to bring coherent suggestions on how to end the impasse.

Describing the Irish border as the "top priority" for the EU, Mr Tusk said Brussels "will not gamble" on destroying the peace process and will do "everything in my power" to find a solution.

However, in an explosive final comment, Mr Tusk added: "By the way, I was wondering what that special place in hell looks like for people who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan for how to carry it out safely.”

Moments later Mr Varadkar and Mr Tusk were caught on a live microphone after the press conference. Mr Varadkar said "they'll give you a terrible time in the British press" and Mr Tusk laughed back, "yes, I know".

Mr Tusk's comment is also likely to have been designed to push middle-ground politicians in Britain into realising there is unlikely to be any movement from the EU and that they must choose between "hell" or the agreed withdrawal deal.

However, when asked if he agreed with what was said at a later press conference with Mr Varadkar, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker avoided the question, saying:

I'm less Catholic than my good friend. I believe in heaven and I have never seen hell apart from the time I was doing my job here.

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar received further assurances from Mr Tusk, Mr Juncker, EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt that the EU remains completely united behind Ireland, with all four men saying Ireland will not be "abandoned".

Mr Juncker said he will "hold the line" as the "backstop safety net cannot be destroyed".

However, while confirming supports will be available for farmers in a no deal Brexit, Mr Juncker avoided giving exact details and did not answer a question on how a hard border can be avoided if no deal is struck.

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