Party leaders unite to condemn Theresa May's 'deeply irresponsible' attack on European politicians

Written by Tom Freeman on 4 May 2017 in News

Theresa May compared to Donald Trump and UKIP after unexpected attack on European neighbours

Theresa May - Neil Hall/PA Wire/

Senior figures from across the political divide have branded Theresa May “deeply irresponsible” after she accused EU leaders of trying to influence Britain’s general election.

After meeting the Queen yesterday the Prime Minister sent a broadside to European politicians and officials, saying Brussels did "not want Britain to prosper" in the future.

She also accused them of "threats against Britain", and interfering in the General Election.


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Brussels so far has not responded, but opposition figures in the UK have reacted with shock.

SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said May's speech had been driven by "narrow, partisan motives, to deliberately seek to poison the well" ahead of serious Brexit negotiations.

“This is an irresponsible, gratuitous attack on our European neighbours, which is aimed at diverting attention from the Tories’ dismal record on health, the economy, austerity and welfare by painting the EU as a bogeyman," she said.
 
“Insulting our neighbours simply makes the Brexit mountain much harder to climb, but unfortunately it is par for the course from Theresa May.
 
“She called this election not in the national interest, but for narrow party political interests and it is clear she now intends to use Brexit for the same narrow purposes."

Scottish Labour’s Europe spokesperson Lewis Macdonald said May had "gone the full Donald Trump", while the party's UK leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “By winding up the public confrontation with Brussels, the Prime Minister wants to wrap the Conservative party in the Union Jack and distract attention from her government’s economic failure and rundown of our public services.”

Liberal Democrat EU spokesman Nick Clegg said May was using the language of UKIP.

“Theresa May’s desperate, bizarre statement could have come word for word from Nigel Farage," he said. 

“The coalition of hard Brexit between the Conservatives and Ukip is now complete, and it will be hard-pressed families up and down the country who will suffer most.” 

May's speech came after details of a private dinner between ministers and Claude Juncker were leaked to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in which he said he called Angela Merkel the morning after to claim May was “on another galaxy”.

German Europe minister Michael Roth tweeted how the British Government should “say goodbye to the fairy tale”, and Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, mocked Mrs May's election mantra by tweeting that the UK needed a "strong and stable” understanding of the complexities of the Brexit negotiations.

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