Boris Johnson is preventing Brexit talks from progressing, a close ally of Angela Merkel has said.
Michael Fuchs, the vice chairman of the German chancellor’s CDU party, said the foreign secretary was blocking Theresa May from agreeing to pay the EU a financial settlement it would accept.
“I think Theresa May has to come up with fair proposals. At the moment it is not really that much. But I know there are internal problems. Whatever she’s offering, Boris Johnson is saying it’s too much,” Fuchs told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.
“His influence seems to be pretty strong because otherwise she would come up with other proposals I guess. So the problem is she has internal trouble in the Tories.”
A major stumbling block in the exit talks is an argument over how much money the UK will pay the EU as it leaves the bloc in order to settle financial commitments it made while still a member.
May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday agreed to “accelerate” efforts to find a Brexit deal but offered little sign of tangible progress.
Following a working dinner in Brussels, the prime minister and Juncker said in a joint statement that their meeting had been “constructive and friendly”.
However there was no indication the Commissioner’s side was ready to revise its view that the talks still had not made sufficient progress for them to move forward to the second phase – including a free trade deal.
The meeting came after the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, warned last week that the discussions remained “deadlocked” – with Britain’s “divorce bill” a key stumbling block.
He made clear he could not recommend to other EU leaders that they were ready to move on to phase two when they meet in the Belgian capital on Thursday.
Amid continued frustration at the lack of progress, British officials will now be looking to the EU’s December summit as the next opportunity to move forward.
Brexit secretary David Davis is due to update MPs on the progress of the talks when he appears in the Commons on Tuesday afternoon.