Theresa May has warned Jean-Claude Juncker that she will prove to be a bloody difficult woman during Brexit negotiations after he accused her of being deluded.
The Prime Minister said that the process will be tough as she said that voters have to choose whether she or Jeremy Corbyn will be sitting around the negotiating table.
Now during the Conservative Party leadership campaign I was described by one of my colleagues as a bloody difficult woman. And I said at the time the next person to find that out will be Jean-Claude Juncker.
She made the comments after a German newspaper reported that after a Downing Street dinner on Wednesday Mr Juncker accused Mrs May of being deluded and said it was more likely than not that Brexit talks would fail.
According to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung Mr Juncker told Mrs May I’m leaving Downing Street 10 times more sceptical than I was before.
He reportedly claimed during the meeting that Brexit cannot be a success and threatened to end talks without a trade deal if Britain refuses to pay a divorce bill.
However Mrs May dismissed the claims as Brussels gossip. She said: I think that the account that I’ve seen a lot of that is Brussels gossip.
But what is important is that there is a key question for people when they come to this election. We’ve seen from all of this that these negotiations at times will be tough.
Getting the right deal requires the right leadership. And there’s only going to be one of two people sitting around that table. The 27 other EU countries on one side of the table and who is going to be there standing up for the UK? It’s either going to be me or Jeremy Corbyn.
However Mrs May refused to commit to settling the issue of migrant rights in June after being blocked by the European Union.
She said: I have always said that I want that to be dealt with at an early stage. I continue to say that I said that in the article 50 letter. The European Union has responded in their guidelines by saying similarly that that should be an issue that we address at an early stage.
After the meal Mr Juncker called Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, saying that Mrs May was living in another galaxy and deluding herself.
His call led to Mrs Merkel publicly warning that Britain was suffering from illusions about Brexit. Mrs May subsequently highlighted her comments and said that EU nations were lining up to oppose Britain and that talks would be tough.
The European Union also appeared to reject calls by Mrs May for talks to remain confidential. The Prime Minister called for negotiations to be held in monthly, four-day blocks which would remain confidential until the end of the process.
The European Commission said that this would be impossible given the need to consult member states and the European Parliament over discussions. All documents must be published, the report suggested.
Critics have rounded on Theresa May after the report made waves across the country.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said: These reports blow a massive hole in the Conservative Party’s arguments.
Theresa May chose a divisive hard Brexit, with Labour’s help, and now has no idea what to do next. This government has no plan and no clue and this shows it starkly.
Shadow Brexit minister Keir Starmer told the Financial Times : This is.evidence that May’s rigid and complacent approach to Brexit negotiations risks leading Britain over a cliff edge.
Number 10 rejected the claims, saying they didn’t recognise the account. A spokesperson commented: As the Prime Minister and Jean-Claude Juncker made clear, this was a constructive meeting ahead of the negotiations formally getting underway.