Donald Tusk warned David Cameron about ‘stupid’ Brexit referendum

European Council President Donald Tusk with former British Prime Minister David Cameron in 2016 | Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Donald Tusk warned David Cameron about ‘stupid’ Brexit referendum

Ex-British PM thought the Liberal Democrats would block plans to hold EU referendum.


1/21/19, 3:46 PM CET

Updated 1/21/19, 5:20 PM CET

European Council President Donald Tusk said he told David Cameron to “get real” while the former British prime minister was trying to negotiate a deal with the EU ahead of the “stupid” Brexit referendum in June 2016.

Tusk was interviewed for a BBC Two series called “Inside Europe: Ten Years of Turmoil,” the first episode of which airs on January 28, and recalled the conversations he had with Cameron at the time.

“I told him bluntly, come on David, get real. I know that all prime ministers are promising to help you, but believe me the truth is that no one has an appetite for revolution in Europe only because of your stupid referendum,” Tusk said on the program, extracts of which were released to the press on Monday.

“If you try to force us, to hurry us, you will lose everything. And for the first time I saw something close to fear in his eyes. He finally realized what a challenge he was facing.”

Tusk also said that Cameron believed his coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, would stop the referendum from happening; that plan changed when the Conservatives won the 2015 general election.

“I asked David Cameron, why did you decide on this referendum …

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