The National:

HARDLINE Tory Brexiteers are caught between a rock and a hard place.

On one hand, they want to portray themselves as the victims of the EU’s tyrannical rule – characterised as “hysterical self-pity” by Fintan O’Toole.

On the other, they champion the indomitable British bulldog spirit, putting “unelected European bureaucrats” – typically elected politicians – in their place.

This week, Tory No-Deal cheerleaders have opted for the former.

They’ve targeted Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel after he made a mockery of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

READ MORE: Xavier Bettel: The Luxembourg leader who made a fool of Boris Johnson

Bettel infuriated many Tory onlookers after going ahead with a press conference on Monday alongside an empty podium where Johnson was supposed to be addressing the media.

The Tory leader walked out of Luxembourg's Ministry of State complaining a noisy anti-Brexit demonstration made it impossible to go ahead with the Q&A.

British officials were said to have asked for the press conference to be moved inside, only to be told there was insufficient space to accommodate all the journalists present.

To cheers from the crowd, Bettel then mounted an emotional criticism, complaining the future of citizens across the EU was being held hostage for "party political gains".

The National:

READ MORE: Brexit: Twitter reacts to Boris Johnson skipping press conference

Tory Brexiteers were not best pleased.

Pro-Leave Conservative Daniel Kawczynski said the scenes only underlined the need for the UK to get out of the "artificial arrogant EU structure" as quickly as possible.

"Luxembourg PM representing a nation smaller than Birmingham admonishing and being disrespectful to a British PM for trying to fulfil will of British people. We need to pull out of EU on October 31 without doubt!" he tweeted, highlighting the kind of influence small, independent nations can have on the European stage.

Former Brexit minister David Jones claimed Bettel had made a "big mistake" which would appal many of his own people. The Welsh Brexiteer is an expert, having campaigned for Leave in a country which receives around £680 million of EU funds every year, according Welsh government figures.

Fellow Welsh Tory David Davies hit out at the small gathering of protesters who heckled Johnson.

Mark Francois, meanwhile, remarked: "When you see how arrogantly the EU behaves, is it any wonder our people voted to leave the EU?”

Ignoring the fact that Bettel no better represents the EU than Johnson does, it is useful to turn the tables on Francois. Perhaps a sense of antipathy from European leaders could be explained by his own attitude.

For instance, in January, Francois condemned then-Airbus chief executive Tom Enders for writing a letter to the EU outlining the negative consequences of Brexit. “My father, Reginald Francois, was a D-Day veteran. He never submitted to bullying by any German. Neither will his son,” he said, before tearing up the Airbus boss’ letter.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said Bettel’s press conference had been an "unfortunate media stunt", something the current Prime Minister would of course never resort to…

The National:

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith hit back at criticism from EU Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt, who had contrasted Johnson’s timid no-show with his Hulk-related delusions of grandeur.

Duncan Smith said Verhofstadt’s mocking “betrays” his “motives” – something fiercely opposed by the Tory’s boss in Downing Street.

I think we can safely file the Tory reaction under “hysterical self-pity”.