EU President Jean-Claude Juncker has blamed Brexit on the 40 years of lies and half truths spread about Europe to the British public.

Speaking during an interview with the European Comission YouTube channel, in which he was asked questions from Twitter users, the EU's top man said that he was not surprised that Britons had voted to leave the bloc after years of being told that the organisation was "stupid."

Responding to why he believed the British public had voted to pull the UK out of the EU, he said: "This is a simple and easy question, asking for thousands of answers. Of course, Brexit means that something is wrong in Europe. But Brexit means also that something was wrong in Britain."

He continued: "If, over 40 years, you are explaining to your general public that European Union is stupid, there is nothing worth, that you have to leave, that the European Union membership is not bringing any advantages to your populations, you can't be surprised that the day you ask people: "Do you want to stay or do you want to leave?' that a too high number of British - in the case we are discussing - are expressing the view that it is better to leave.

"On Europe, there are so many lies, so many half truths which are circulated around, that one cannot be surprised."

He was did not place the blame wholly on the UK. "I am not giving to the British vote only that explanation. I do think there was a European message in this too."

Jean Claude Juncker
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has harsh words to say about Brexit. Frederick Florin/ AFP

Britain responds to Juncker's comments

In response, a Downing street spokesman told the Guardian: "The language expressed by the president is a matter for him. Clearly, the country voted for Brexit for a number of reasons. Those were thrashed out during the referendum campaign."

The spokesman added: "What is important now is the the government goes forward, acknowledges the will of the people as expressed in that referendum, and goes about the business of getting the best possible deal for the British people going forward."

Juncker's comments did not go down well with a number of politicians. UK MP Douglas Carswell told the Daily Mail: "Herr Juncker's arrogant disdain for the views of the British people beautifully explains why we were right to leave."

Tory MP Jacob Rees Mogg's response to Juncker's remarks was: "It is a classic example of folie de grandeur. It is the EU that has failed, not the wise British electorate."