27/04/2017 21:04 BST | Updated 27/04/2017 21:47 BST

Theresa May Thinks EU Members Are 'Lining Up' To Disrupt Brexit

PM picks a fight with Angela Merkel.

PA Wire/PA Images
Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at a general election campaign event at the Shine Centre in Leeds.

Theresa May has signalled she thinks European Union members are conspiring against the UK over Brexit, accusing leaders of preparing to “line up to oppose us”.

The Prime Minister ramped up her rhetoric over the tough talks the UK is likely to face during two years of negotiations as she urged Labour supporters to “lend me their vote” to strengthen her hand.

Her comments were a direct response to German Chancellor Angela Merkel claiming the UK should get over its Brexit “illusions”.

Speaking at a general election campaign event in Leeds in the heart of Labour’s heartlands, May also alluded to “opponents” in the UK trying to “disrupt” the negotiations, which is certain to mean Labour, the SNP and Liberal Democrats. 

She said: 

“We have seen Chancellor Merkel’s comments today. She says the UK has ‘illusions’ about the process and that the 27 member states of the European Union agree. We can see how tough those negotiations are going to be at times.

”Yet our opponents are already seeking to disrupt those negotiations – at the same time as 27 other European countries line up to oppose us. That approach can only mean one thing – uncertainty and instability, bringing grave risk to our growing economy with higher taxes, fewer jobs, more waste and more debt.

“So we need the strongest possible hand, the strongest possible mandate and the strongest possible leadership as we go into those talks.”

Merkel had said:

“Countries with a third country status – and that’s what Great Britain will be – cannot and will not have the same or even more rights as a member of the European Union. All 27 member states and the European institutions agree on this.”

On social media, few were surprised that the EU might be reluctant to offer a Rolls-Royce departure deal to the UK: