Donald Tusk’s comment that there is a “special place in hell” reserved for people who promoted Brexit without a plan has been met with outrage, praise and more than a few jokes online.
Nigel Farage, who led one of the main Leave campaigns in 2016, said post-Brexit Britain will be free of “unelected, arrogant bullies like [Tusk]”.
“Sounds more like heaven to me,” he said.
Mr Farage’s former press adviser Michael Heaver called the comments an “irresponsible and pathetic EU attack”.
TV presenter Piers Morgan said the “EU clowns are turning me more pro-Brexit every time they open their insulting mouth”.
Prominent Remain MP Anna Soubry, however, predicted the European Council president would be “wildly misquoted” as she stressed he was commenting on leading Leave politicians rather than “the millions of good people they conned with fake promises they cannot deliver on”.
Her Conservative colleague Phillip Lee said the remark was based on reality, even if it annoyed those who “politically orchestrated Brexit”.
Mr Lee tweeted: “My issue has never been with Brexit voters, it’s always been with reckless, shallow politicians who promised a Brexit they’d no credible plan to deliver.”
Scottish MEP Alyn Smith went even further, describing Mr Tusk as a “friend of the UK” who had been driven to such language “by two years of the lies of charlatans being implemented unchallenged by cowards”.
But among all the vitriol and politicking online were a fair few helpings of humour as people suggested what the “special place in hell” might look like.
Tory MP Johnny Mercer suggested it may look “a bit like Brussels”, while Labour MP David Lammy had a more specific suggestion.
“The Conservative Party’s annual Black and White fundraising ball is next month and it’s only £10,000 to get a table next to Boris Johnson,” he tweeted.
Other ideas included the Westfield shopping centre in west London’s White City and simply “Milton Keynes”.
Another user, Ben Fenton, had a more literary answer.
The precise location would be the “1st Bolgia of the Malebolge, part of the 8th Circle of the Inferno, for Panderers and Seducers”, he wrote, drawing on Dante’s Inferno, the classic work about the circles of hell.
The area is reserved for “those who ‘deliberately exploited the passions of others and so drove them to serve their own interests’” where they “’are themselves driven and scourged’,” he added.
Prime Minister Theresa May will meet EU leaders including Mr Tusk tomorrow – a week before MPs are expected to vote again on the EU withdrawal agreement.