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18 Sep, 2019 10:02

Less Hulk, more Mrs Doubtfire: Verhofstadt blasts BoJo over Brexit strategy

Less Hulk, more Mrs Doubtfire: Verhofstadt blasts BoJo over Brexit strategy

A beleaguered and Brexit-weary Guy Verhofstadt is apparently at his wit’s end negotiating with the UK, suggesting that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson forget the ‘Hulk’ persona and be more like Mrs Doubtfire.

In Wednesday’s European Parliament session in Strasbourg, Verhofstadt pleaded for EU citizens’ rights to be respected in a post-Brexit UK, while invoking a much beloved character played by the late comedian and actor Robin Williams. 

“We need automatic registration for all EU citizens in the UK… instead of playing the angry Hulk, when it comes to citizens rights, Boris Johnson should be the caring nanny, Mrs Doubtfire,” the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator said.

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Meanwhile, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has confirmed that no new proposals had been been proffered to resolve the intractable Northern Ireland backstop issue, stoking fears that Johnson will fulfil his ‘deal or no deal’ vow that the UK will leave the EU on October 31. 

Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s representative in the Brexit negotiations, mocked the Brexit Party and decried comparisons made between the EU and the Soviet Union, suggesting it would be more apt in relation to Westminster than Brussels. 

“They like saying the European Union is undemocratic and he [Nigel Farage] is going to repeat that,” Verhofstadt ranted. 

“If the Euroskeptics in the coming hours now want to use this again for a ridiculous comparison with the Soviet Union they can point the finger to Westminster instead of to Strasbourg or Brussels.”

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He then reiterated his longstanding position, in no uncertain terms: “There’s no discussion about this – Brexit is bad. It’s a bad idea.”

He did, however, claim that Brexit has helped unite Europeans and to improve overall public perception of the European project. 

“The message of the people during the elections was very clear, reform Europe; don’t destroy Europe. Don’t leave Europe,” he said.

Verhofstadt did express some modicum of optimism that a deal could be reached before it was too late, but that would require the British prime minister to make some concessions.

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