Brexit: Germany’s EU minister blames clueless ‘silver spoon’ Westminster elite for ‘s**tshow’

Michael Roth says 90 per cent of British cabinet are ignorant of ordinary lives

Jon Stone
Europe Correspondent
Monday 01 April 2019 13:53 BST
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Juncker: Cameron is great destroyer of modern times

The clueless “silver spoon” elite that dominates British politics is to blame for the current Brexit crisis in the UK, Germany’s Europe minister has said.

Speaking in Berlin, Michael Roth said “90 per cent” of Britain’s cabinet ministers have “no idea how workers think, live, work and behave” and that their ignorance had led to a “big s**tshow”.

“Brexit is a big s**tshow, I say that now very undiplomatically,” Mr Roth said at a gathering of his Social Democratic Party over the weekend.

He pointed the finger at UK politicians “born with silver spoons in their mouths, who went to private schools and elite universities” that had brought about the mess but would suffer no consequences themselves.

“I don’t know if William Shakespeare could have come up with such a tragedy but who will foot the bill?” asked Mr Roth.

The spotlight that Brexit has put on Old Etonian politicians such as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg has surprised many on the continent.

Mr Roth was speaking ahead of European parliament elections that will take place across the EU next month.

His party is one of many in Europe offering Brexit and the UK as a cautionary tale: last week it unveiled an election poster simply featuring a picture of Boris Johnson and the words “Brexit? Europe is the answer”.

Speaking on Monday Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, called on the inscrutable Westminster “sphinx” to tell Europe what it wanted.

“We now know what the British parliament doesn’t want, but we haven’t heard what it wants,” Mr Juncker told the Saarland state legislature in Saarbruecken, Germany.

Juncker delivers a speech in Saarland, Germany
Juncker delivers a speech in Saarland, Germany (AP)

“A sphinx is an open book in direct comparison with the British parliament.”

The commission president also had choice words for another Old Etonian: former prime minister David Cameron.

“We were forbidden from being present in any way in the referendum campaign by Mr Cameron, who is one of the great destroyers of modern times,” he said.

“Because he said the commission is even less popular in the UK than it is in other EU member states.

“If we had been able to take part in this campaign, we could have asked – and also answered – many questions that are only being asked now.”

The UK has become the butt of jokes and searing commentary across the continent since the start of the Brexit debacle.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, an erstwhile ally of the UK at the European Council table, said Britain was a waning country too small to stand on its own.

“If anyone in the Netherlands thinks Nexit is a good idea, just look at England and see the enormous damage it does,” he said.

Last month, France’s then-minister for Europe, Nathalie Loiseau, joked that she had nicknamed her cat “Brexit” because he meowed loudly to be let out but then did not walk through the door when she opened it.

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