The German chancellor is said to have left journalists at the briefing at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week “laughing uproariously”.
According to ITV’s political commentator Robert Peston, Mrs Merkel recalled how the Prime Minister has said the same thing every time the issue of post-Brexit trade comes up.
Mrs Merkel claimed that whenever she asks Mrs May what she wants the shape of the UK’s relationship with the EU to be, Mrs May replies “make me an offer” – every single time.
Mr Peston wrote: “Mrs Merkel says, ‘but you’re leaving – we don’t have to make you an offer. Come on what do you want?’
“To which Mrs May replies ‘make me an offer’.
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“And so, according to Mrs Merkel, the two find themselves trapped in a recurring loop of ‘what do you want?’ and ‘make me an offer’.”
The story may worry both Brexiteers and Remainers alike, who may use the exchange as ammo to suggest that Mrs May is not the right person to secure the best possible trade deal for Britain after Brexit.
Chancellor Philip Hammond last week infuriated Eurosceptic Tories by suggesting the UK and EU economies will only move “very modestly” apart – essentially a soft Brexit.
There are now calls for Mr Hammond to be removed from his job for disloyalty.
Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries said yesterday: “He needs to go. He’s not being loyal to the Prime Minister.”
Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg – seen by some as a potential leader of the party – added: “On this issue he seems to be disagreeing with Government policy, the Conservative party’s manifesto and Mrs May’s speeches.”