“The glorious Brexit heroes of yesterday are the sad heroes of today,” Juncker told MEPs at the European parliament in Strasbourg. “Those who have contributed to the situation in the UK have resigned – Johnson, Farage and others. They are as it were retro-nationalists, they are not patriots. Patriots don’t resign when things get difficult; they stay.”
The head of the commission was informing MEPs about last week’s EU summit, when David Cameron reported to his fellow leaders on the UK’s vote to leave the EU.
Cameron created a vacancy for the job of prime minister by resigning on the morning after the vote, despite a previous promise not to stand down. Johnson was widely tipped to succeed him, but pulled out of the Tory leadership race after his old friend and fellow leave campaigner Michael Gove announced he would stand against him.
In an act of high political drama, Gove declared that the former mayor of London was unable to provide “the leadership or build the team for the task ahead”.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European commission, has accused Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson of being unpatriotic quitters, after the pair stood back from leadership positions after the UK’s historic vote to leave the European Union.