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Juncker attacks ‘disrespectful’ British press

The European Commission president has suggested he could have swung the referendum if David Cameron had let him.

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Jean-Claude Juncker (Matt Cardy/PA)

Jean-Claude Juncker (Matt Cardy/PA)

Jean-Claude Juncker (Matt Cardy/PA)

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has taken a swipe at the British media as he claimed the EU could have swung the Brexit referendum if David Cameron had not stopped it intervening.

Mr Juncker was scathing about UK press coverage of him, suggesting it violated his human rights.

He told Austrian media: “They do not respect the human rights of political actors at all. I will not miss it.”

Mr Juncker made it clear he believed Brussels could have delivered a Remain vote if then prime minister Mr Cameron had not told the EU to stay out of the campaign.

I'm always amazed that I'm always blamedJean-Claude Juncker

Asked how he felt about being the first Commission president in the history of the EU to see a member leave the bloc, he said: “If the Commission had intervened, perhaps the right questions would have entered the debate.

“At that time it was already clear to us to what trials and tribulations this unfortunate vote of the British would lead to. I’m always amazed that I’m always blamed.”

The remarks drew derision from Leave-backing MPs.

Former minister Frank Field, who recently quit the Labour whip, told the Press Association: “There is no delusion that does not have an attraction for that man.

“I’m sure it would have been a more decisive Leave vote if he had intervened.”

Quite frankly, he's talking through his hatSir Bill Cash

Tory MP Sir Bill Cash said: “He’s completely off the wall. It would have contravened electoral law.

“Quite frankly, he’s talking through his hat.”

Mr Juncker also expressed concern at “confusion” in the British Cabinet over the UK’s withdrawal stance.

Asked if a Brexit U-turn was still possible, Mr Juncker said: “That is in the discretion of the British Parliament and the Government. I do not interfere in inner Cabinet debates in the UK. There is enough confusion.”

PA