Jean-Claude Juncker says begging claims about Theresa May are 'totally made up'

Theresa May was said to be ‘anxious’ and ‘tormented’ during a Brexit dinner with Jean-Claude Juncker (PA)

The European Commission president has denied leaking a disparaging account of a dinner to discuss Brexit with Theresa May.

Jean-Claude Juncker insisted he was shocked to see reports in the German press claiming he had told colleagues the Prime Minister seemed “anxious” and had “begged for help”.

Dismissing the reports, the EU chief said Mrs May had been in good shape when they dined together in Brussels last Monday and she was not tired.

Asked if he had told the German press what happened at the meeting, Mr Juncker said: “No, never. I am really surprised – if not shocked – about what has been written in the German press and, of course, repeated by the British press.

“Nothing is true in all of this. I had an excellent working dinner with Theresa May. She was in good shape, she was not tired, she was fighting as is her duty, so everything for me was OK.”

Asked if that meant she had not pleaded with him, he replied: “No, that’s not the style of British prime ministers.”

Mr Juncker’s comments follow one of his senior aides denying leaking sensitive information about a Brexit dinner that claimed Theresa May was “anxious”.

Theresa May’s former chief of staff, Nick Timothy, blamed Martin Selmayr for an account of the private meeting between the Prime Minister and European Commission chief, published by German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).

But Mr Selmayr, Mr Juncker’s chief of staff, accused Mr Timothy of spreading “false” claims and insisted that Brussels did not want to weaken the Prime Minister’s position.

In his response to Mr Timothy he suggested there were some people who had an interest in undermining the “constructive” relationship between Mr Juncker and Mrs May.

In the highly personal account of last Monday’s dinner, Mrs May was said to have “begged for help”, and seemed “anxious” and “tormented” as well as “despondent and discouraged”, according to FAZ.

Mr Timothy said the new disclosure showed there are figures in Brussels who want Britain to leave the EU with either no deal or on terms which would punish the country for Brexit.

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He tweeted: “After constructive Council meeting, Selmayr does this. Reminder that some in Brussels want no deal or a punitive one.”

But Mr Selmayr responded with his own tweet: “This is false. I know it does’t fit your cliche, @NickJTimothy. But @JunckerEU & I have no interest in weakening PM.

“But it seems some have interest in undermining constructive relations @JunckerEU & PM May. Who? is the real question.”

Mrs May’s is hoping to accelerate Brexit talks (Rex)

He denied being behind the leak or that Mr Juncker ever made the comments about Mrs May’s emotional sate.

He also dismissed the suggestion the EU was being “punitive” and claimed it was an attempt to frame the EU side of the negotiations and “undermine talks”.

After the dinner, a joint statement was released agreeing to accelerate Brexit talks.

And later in the week, at the European Council summit, EU leaders said they would begin scoping work on future trade talks while making clear to Mrs May that she must make more concessions on Britain’s divorce payment for negotiations to progress.

Earlier this year, Mr Selmayr was also accused of leaking details of a private dinner between Mrs May and Mr Juncker at 10 Downing Street, which the Commission president was said to have left “10 times more sceptical” than when he arrived.

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