FLASHBACK: EU Negotiator Warned Boris, Rees-Mogg Could ‘End Up on Guillotine’


Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s chosen representative in the Brexit negotiations, suggested Boros Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg could end up “on the guillotine” in months before the current furore over claims their use of terms like “surrender” and “betrayal” is “inflammatory” and put the lives of anti-Brexit MPs in danger.

The former Belgian prime minister, who was recently feted at the party conference of the EU loyalist Liberal Democrats, claimed that “I know that within the Tory party the hard Brexiteers are compared to the leaders of the French revolution” at a press conference in Strasbourg, France.

“I think [Michael] Gove is [Jacques Pierre] Brissot, and Boris Johnson is [Georges] Danton, and [Jacob] Rees-Mogg is compared to [Maximilien] Robespierre,” mused Verhofstadt.

“We should not forget that the efforts of these men were not appreciated by the common man they claimed to represent — because they all ended up on the guillotine. So that’s important to remind [them],” the EU federalist added threateningly.


Brissot was an early enthusiast for the French Revolution, and a prominent member of the Jacobin Club, but as he moved towards more moderate positions he earned the ire of the radicals, and was publicly beheaded after a failed escape attempt.

Danton was for a time the leader of the so-called Committee of Public Safety which conducted the Reign of Terror, but fell victim to it himself when it was deemed he was not prosecuting the repression with sufficient vigour.

Robespierre, likely the most ruthless of the three, was likewise consumed by his own revolution, after establishing a Cult of the Supreme Being as an alternative to Christianity and appearing to fall into Messianic delusions.

Verhofstadt’s threatening words did not appear to trouble establishment Remainers at the time — indeed, they were no barrier to his being invited to the aforementioned Liberal Democrats conference to expound on his ambitions to turn the EU into an “empire” as an honoured guest — but they have since become much more sensitive about language.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is accused of putting their lives at risk by describing legislation requiring him to ask for yet another Brexit delay as a “Surrender Act”, and accusing Remain MPs of “betraying” a public which voted to Leave the European Union in 2016.

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