Donald Tusk tells the UK: It's hard Brexit or no Brexit

Jake Cordell
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Donald Tusk in front of EU flag
Donald Tusk has told the UK not to expect any concessions in the Brexit negotiations (Source: Getty)

Top EU policymaker Donald Tusk has told the UK there is no possibility of a so-called "soft Brexit".

Tusk, president of the European Council, said this afternoon "the only real alternative to a hard Brexit is no Brexit" as he appeared to shut the door on the option of the UK and the EU striking a far-ranging bespoke divorce deal.

Speaking in Brussels, he said: "It is useless to speculate about soft Brexit.These would be purely theoretical speculations. In my opinion, the only real alternative to a hard Brexit is ‘no Brexit."

The EU has adopted a defiant stance in the wake of the UK's shock vote to sever ties from the remaining 27 members. The group has committed not to enter any form of negotiation with the UK until Theresa May formally sets the two-year clock ticking on Britain's exit by triggering Article 50.

Read more: Bank of England says EU cannot replace London

Speaking at the European Policy Centre alongside Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and president of the European Parliament Martin Schultz, Tusk also issued a damning comment aimed at British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, by insisting there would be "no cake" on the table when it comes to the negotiations, only "salt and vinegar". Johnson previously described his position when it comes to leaving the EU by reiterating his famous phrase: "My policy on cake is pro-having it and pro-eating it".

Talk of a hard Brexit, implied to mean leaving the Single Market and possibly the EU customs union, has been top of the agenda since the Conservative Party Conference earlier this month. Since then, sterling has lost eight cents against the US dollar amid the uncertainty.

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