Tusk intervenes in European elections in UK

The President of the European Council goes on record in support of Jacek Rostowski who is standing for “Change UK” in London.

Mr Tusk, the European Council’s President, spoke out in support for his fellow Pole, Jan Rostowski, who is a candidate in this week’s European election. Mr Rostowski, who is standing in London, served as finance minister and deputy prime minister of Poland under Mr Tusk. Speaking in support of his former colleague, Mr Tusk said: “Jan Rostowski worked with me as finance minister of Poland for six years and as my Deputy Prime Minister” he praised his former colleague.

“Not only was he the best finance minister in Europe during the financial crisis, he is also a very dear friend who would make a great MEP for London, which I know he loves. I urge Londoners who want Britain to stay in the EU to vote for him” he declared nailing his colours firmly to the ‘Remain’ mast.

Mr Tusk, the EU's most senior official, has urged his Brussels colleagues to use the latest Brexit delay to encourage Britons to demand a second referendum. His intervention sparked a strong reaction from Brexiteers.

A spokesman for Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said: “Of all the self-inflicted wounds that Change UK have suffered during this election campaign this statement by Donald Tusk has to be the worst. To have a foreign bureaucrat with direct power over this country interfering in our democratic process is a nadir."

The travails of Mr Rostowski

Mr Rostowski has been criticised in the past for comments about homosexuality, in which he opposed gay marriage on the basis that "a stable society is based on heterosexual relations". But now claims he has "fundamentally" changed his opinions since pledging to stop Brexit with Change UK.

Jacek Rostowski stood for the EP in the last European elections in the Kujawsko-Pomorskie province in the North of Poland. He failed in his attempt to reach Brussels, even though his party had given him first place on the constituency list. During the campaign he became the butt of many jokes for mispronouncing the name of the capital of the province Bydgoszcz.

Mr Rostowski has been making frequent appearances before the VAT fraud investigative committee in the Polish Parliament. He refutes claims that he and his party were at fault for failing to increase tax yields from VAT during their term in office.

Tusk: breaking convention

Mr Tusk’s interventions at the weekend in Poland, where he spoke in support of the “European Coalition” and now in support of his former government colleague standing in London can be interpreted in two ways. Either Mr Tusk feels he is politically strong enough to disregard conventions that he should be impartial as he heads the European Council, or that he has given up on trying to build his position in the EU and is now focused on his role in Polish and partisan European politics.