The Conservative MP is leading Brexiteers in their criticism of the Luxembourg leader who has been described as “rude”. Iain Duncan Smith said world leaders had a duty to show “courtesy and civility” and highlighted Allied forces liberated Luxembourg from German occupation during the Second World War.
He told The Telegraph: “The irony is that Luxembourg was saved by Britain. National leaders should always treat one another with courtesy and civility. Good ones do.”
The Luxembourg leader on Monday sparked a row by going ahead with a joint press conference that Mr Johnson was forced to pull out of due to heckling anti-Brexit protesters.
Mr Bettel stood next to an empty podium in an apparent bid to humiliate Mr Johnson before ranting about Brexit.
The Luxembourg Prime Minister refused a request to move the press conference inside to avoid the small group of demonstrators.
Brexit news: Iain Duncan Smith has launched an attack on Xavier Bettel
Brexit news: Xavier Bettel appeared to mock Boris Johnson
This forced Mr Johnson to only give a statement to a small group of journalists assembled at the nearby residence of the British ambassador, after dozens of demonstrators with a loud speaker heckled him from behind the gate.
Sir Nicholas Soames labelled Mr Bettel’s actions as “very poor behaviour” and branded him a “show-off” which was “unhelpful grandstanding”.
Nigel Evans, joint secretary of the backbench 1922 committee, said Mr Bettel’s snub was “another reason why the British people voted the way we did”.
Speaking at his solo press conference, Luxembourg’s prime minister lashed out at Mr Johnson for failing to propose serious alternatives to unlock a Brexit deal before the October 31 divorce date and seeking to blame the bloc for the “nightmare”.
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Brexit news: Xavier Bettel carried out the joint press conference alone
He said: “Don’t make the EU the bad guy.
“I know that the UK Government is unhappy with the Withdrawal Agreement as it stands.
“That’s why I thought it was important to speak to Prime Minister Johnson to get proposals.
“We need more than just words.”
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Brexit news: Xavier Bettel has been branded ‘rude’
Brexit news: Xavier Bettel said the EU is not the ‘bad guy’
He said there needed to be a legally operational text to work on “as soon as possible” if the October deadline was to be met.
Mr Bettel, answering questions from reporters, said: “For me I just have one Withdrawal Agreement on the table and it’s the one from last year.
“There are no changes. There are no concrete proposals for the moment on the table. And I won’t give an agreement to ideas. We need written proposals and the time is ticking.”
Mr Bettel told Mr Johnson to “stop speaking and act”, adding: “But we won’t accept any agreement that goes against a single market, who will be against the Good Friday Agreement.”
Brexit news: Britain is due to leave the EU on October 31
He added “solidarity” with Ireland is “strong” before saying: “This Brexit it’s not my choice.
“It’s been a decision from a party, a decision from David Cameron to do it. They decide, I deeply regret it but don’t put the blame on us because now they don’t know how to get out of this situation.”
The meeting with Mr Bettel followed an earlier meeting with European Commission outgoing President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
Mr Juncker insisted the onus to propose alternatives to the Irish backstop befalls on Britain as he reiterated the Commission is committed to continuing talks to ensure a deal is in place on October 31.
Brexit news: Boris Johnson was forced to deliver his speech elsewhere
Today BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg told how Mr Bettel planned to “enjoy the moment and embarrass” Mr Johnson.
She told how the Number 10 team requested to move the joint press conference between Boris Johnson and Xavier Bettel inside due to growing anti-Brexit protests but was turned down.
“What happened, it seems, is that Number 10 asked to have the press conference inside to avoid what would have been embarrassing and, maybe, quite chaotic.
“Xavier Bettel’s team said no because they didn’t have a big enough room for all the reporters and then went outside anyway with Boris Johnson humiliated, hurrying off.”