Why ‘pompous’ Juncker has to go, by Vince the arch-Re­mainer

The Mail on Sunday - - Bojo's Brexit Revolt - By Si­mon Wal­ters PO­LIT­I­CAL ED­I­TOR

SIR Vince Ca­ble l ast ni ght launched a new ver­bal as­sault on EU Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker, brand­ing him ‘ pompous, self- im­por­tant and over­paid’.

The Lib Dem leader called for Mr Juncker to be sacked and mocked his ‘vi­sion’ of a United States of Europe. In a ref­er­ence to his re­ported drink­ing habits, Sir Vince said: ‘Since Mr Juncker has sev­eral vi­sions, per­haps he should go and see an op­ti­cian.’

Fer­vent pro-European Sir Vince said Juncker should be re­placed by some­one ‘ more at­tuned to re­al­ity and pub­lic opinion’.

His com­ments, made at the start of his party’s an­nual con­fer­ence in Bournemouth, come af­ter out­spo­ken Euro­crat Juncker, who earns nearly £ 300,000 a year, said Bri­tain would ‘re­gret’ Brexit and set out new plans to ex­pand the EU.

In a move bound to be seen as a way of coun­ter­ing crit­i­cism that the anti-Brexit Lib Dems are ‘too soft’ on Brus­sels, Sir Vince said in an in­ter­view with The Mail on Sun­day: ‘Juncker em­bod­ies many of the EU’s fail­ings. He is pompous, self-im­por­tant and over­paid.

‘It is peo­ple like him who give the European project a bad name. Juncker puts off a lot of peo­ple in Bri­tain who would oth­er­wise be well dis­posed to the EU.

‘ Just be­cause my party is against Brexit does not mean we are not pre­pared to be strong crit­ics of the EU.’

Fig­ures like Juncker were to blame for pub­lic re­sent­ment of an elite that had a ‘sense of entitlement and a lack of hu­mil­ity,’ said Sir Vince, adding: ‘Peo­ple in power have to be sen­si­tive enough to know it’s there – but Juncker just doesn’t get it.’ Ear­lier this week he de­scribed Juncker as an ‘ex­treme fed­er­al­ist’.

Sir Vince has called for a sec­ond EU ref­er­en­dum to be held at the end of the Brexit talks in 2019, in the hope that the re­sult of the last one can be over­turned. If he suc­ceeds, he said re­plac­ing Juncker would be his next ob­jec­tive.

In con­trast, Sir Vince said he had ‘a lot of time for’ EU chief Brexit ne­go­tia­tor Michel Barnier – and re­called wryly that when he was Business Sec­re­tary in the Tory-Lib Dem Coali­tion Govern­ment, Barnier trav­elled to Lon­don on a mis­sion to dis­cover how the UK, which might now leave the sin­gle mar­ket, was ‘im­ple­ment­ing it more en­thu­si­as­ti­cally’ than other EU coun­tries.

Sir Vince vented his fury with Juncker at a pri­vate meet­ing with se­nior EU diplo­mats last week. He told them: ‘If you want to help us keep Bri­tain in the EU, the first thing you can do is en­sure we hear a lot less from Mr Juncker.’

RIDICULE: Sir Vince Ca­ble, left, has mocked Jean-Claude Juncker

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