Theresa May has dismissed a disastrous dinner with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as “Brussels gossip”, as the the PM was warned of deluding herself over Brexit.
German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) today printed a devastating insider account of the meeting between the Prime Minister and Juncker last Wednesday.
The details, briefed by senior Commission sources, reveal Juncker told May as he left that he was “ten times more skeptical than I was before” about securing a good Brexit deal.
May was accused of living in another galaxy, and the Prime Minister had to be reminded the EU is not a golf club as she claimed the UK did not legally owe any money in a ‘divorce bill’.
Labour said the reports show May had adopted a “rigid and complacent approach” to Brexit, while the Lib Dems claimed the Government has “no clue” on how to proceed with the negotiations.
Downing Street disputed the reports, and May later told reporters while on the campaign trail in Lancashire: “From what I have seen of this account, I think it is Brussels gossip. Just look at what the European commission themselves said immediately after the dinner took place, which was that the talks had been constructive.
“But it also shows that actually at times these negotiations are going to be tough. And in order to get the best deal for Britain we need to ensure that we’ve got that strong and stable leadership going into those negotiations.”
The FAZ article was not uploaded to the internet, but The Economist’s Berlin Bureau chief Jeremy Cliffe provided a detailed synopsis of its contents to Twitter.
Here are the key points:
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