EU cannot betray ‘increasing majority’ who want UK to remain, says Tusk

EC president hails those who marched against Brexit and revoke article 50 petitioners

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Donald Tusk has issued a rallying call to the “increasing majority” of British people who want to cancel Brexit and stay in the EU.

In a stirring intervention, the European council president has praised those who marched on the streets of London and the millions who are petitioning the government to revoke article 50.

Speaking to the European parliament, Tusk reprimanded those who voiced concerns about a potential lengthy extension to article 50 in the event of the Commons rejecting the withdrawal agreement again this week.

Tusk said: “Let me make one personal remark to the members of this parliament. Before the European council, I said that we should be open to a long extension if the UK wishes to rethink its Brexit strategy, which would of course mean the UK’s participation in the European parliament elections. And then there were voices saying that this would be harmful or inconvenient to some of you.

“Let me be clear: such thinking is unacceptable. You cannot betray the 6 million people who signed the petition to revoke article 50, the 1 million people who marched for a people’s vote, or the increasing majority of people who want to remain in the European Union.”

To heckling from Ukip MEPs, Tusk went on: “They may feel that they are not sufficiently represented by the UK parliament, but they must feel that they are represented by you in this chamber. Because they are Europeans.”

The former Ukip leader Nigel Farage responded to Tusk by describing him as “deluded” and claiming that a second referendum would deliver a larger majority for leave. Initial suggestions that 1 million people marched last weekend in favour of remaining in the EU have been questioned in recent days.

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