Brexit in crisis as EU demands giant statue of Jean-Claude Juncker in Parliament Square

Brexit in crisis as EU demands giant statue of Jean-Claude Juncker in Parliament Square

The Brexit negotiations have descended into crisis after only three days as EU leaders insisted that the erection of a 40ft high statue of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in front of the Houses of Parliament was an “absolute red line” in any Brexit agreement.

A senior EU official said: “Full tariff-free access to the single market, of course we are prepared to compromise on that. And we’ve redone our calculations of the Brexit bill and it turns out we’re actually the ones that owe you €50 billion. But we will not enter into any discussions on the Jean-Claude Legacy programme. It is an absolute red line. No Juncker, no deal.”

Ministers are said to be in a state of “rage” and “disbelief”, with one senior Government source saying: “We had literally just gone to fetch the giant novelty-sized chequebook we keep in the basement of the Treasury to write out a handsome €100 billion cheque to grease the wheels when these outrageous demands came in. That’s it as far as we’re concerned. No deal, we’re leaving tomorrow.”

Brussels said that the plan, which would also see famous London landmarks like Big Ben renamed “Big Barnier” and Covent Garden Market renamed the “Single Market”, was vital to ensure that the EU’s legacy would not be forgotten after Brexit. Other controversial aspects of the plan involved Nelson’s Column being replaced by an 80ft sculpture of a perfectly straight banana, and a major renovation project on the Shard to make it resemble an energy-saving lightbulb.

Negotiators were last night furiously trying to scrabble together a compromise agreement, with the EU scaling back its demands to simply having Britain’s flag renamed the “Customs Union Jack” instead. But it appears that the damage has already been done, and the UK will shortly be leaving the EU with neither an EU trade deal, nor the exquisitely chiselled effigy of its leader.