Theresa May savages Juncker saying 'I was crystal clear’ and slaps EU with ultimatum on Brexit deal

THERESA May today blasted Jean-Claude Juncker after he accused her of not knowing what she wants for Brexit.

The PM insisted she was "crystal clear" in talks with EU leaders about the need to fix the hated backstop - and warned Britain will leave with No Deal if Brussels doesn't give in.

Theresa May arguing with Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels

Earlier today Mrs May was caught on camera having a furious row with European Commission boss Mr Juncker after he called her "nebulous and imprecise".

They were caught on camera going hammer and tongs as Mrs May, holding her handbag, blasted: "You called me nebulous!"

At a press conference this afternoon, the PM said: "I was crystal clear about the assurances which are needed on the backstop having heard the views of MPs in the House of Commons.

"I reiterated that it is in the interests of the EU as well as the UK to get this over the line. A disorderly Brexit would be good for no one."

AP:Associated Press

Theresa May giving a press conference in Brussels this afternoon

Asked about her clash with Mr Juncker, Mrs May said: I had a robust discussion with Jean-Claude Juncker - I think that's the sort of discussion you're able to have when you have a working relationship and you work well together.

"When he used that phrase he'd been talking about the general level of debate."

She also insisted European leaders ARE willing to give new guarantees on the hated Irish backstop to help her push her Brexit deal through Parliament.

Mrs May said: "I note there has been reporting that the EU is not willing to consider any further clarification. The EU is clear – as I am – that if we are going to leave with a deal this is it.

"But my discussions with colleagues today have shown that further clarification and discussion following the Council’s conclusions is in fact possible.


The PM hit out at Jean-Claude Juncker Prime Minister Theresa May explains what went down between her and Jean-Claude Juncker at the EU leaders summit centre in Brussels

"There is work still to do and we will be holding talks in coming days about how to obtain the further assurances that the UK Parliament needs in order to be able to approve the deal.

"I say again. It is in the overwhelming interest of all our people – in the EU and the UK – to get this done, and as quickly as possible."

Asked by The Sun whether she would consider taking Britain out of the EU without a deal, the PM refused to confirm she was willing to take the drastic step.

And she insisted she never considered quitting during the chaos of this week, saying: "There is a job to be done here - I never said it was going to be easy."

This morning, when Mrs May and Mr Juncker met in the EU headquarters, they had a heated conversation as other leaders looked on.

The two leaders were caught on camera in a heated conversation

Mrs May is believed to have said: "What did you call me? You called me nebulous - yes you did, yes you did!"

Mr Juncker apparently replied: "What? No, no I didn't, I didn't."

The PM's former aide Joey Jones quipped: "Handbags. There may be a lot of theatre today."

The scenes were reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher's furious confrontations with European leaders when she was Prime Minister in the 80s.

Body language expert Judi James told The Sun: "There was an air of lazy bonhomie in the chamber with the usual tactile kissing, hugging and back-slapping between world leaders until May arrived at a distinctly tetchy-looking pace.


Mrs May has run into trouble with EU leaders

"Her conversation with Juncker does look from a distance like a bit of a mini-lecture or haranguing, with Juncker clutching May's arm like a man rather surprised by a sudden complaint .

"Juncker normally receives displays of warmth and compliance at these gatherings but May's cocked head and intense facial expression suggests that she might have been keen to make a rather strong point."

Mrs May and Mr Juncker met for pre-summit talks earlier this week.

The Prime Minister asked him for help getting changes to the current Brexit deal, or risk a No Deal scenario with Britain crashing out in March.

But after all EU leaders met last night, Mr Juncker made scathing comments shooting down Mrs May's request.

The Prime Minister looking for her seat at the European Council

He said: "We don't want the UK to think there can be any form of renegotiation, that is crystal clear.

"We can add clarifications but no real changes. There will be no legally binding obligations imposed on the withdrawal treaty.

"Our UK friends need to say what they want, instead of asking us to say what we want.

"We would like in a few weeks for our UK friends to set out their expectations because this debate is sometimes nebulous and imprecise and I would like clarifications."

Mrs May flew to Brussels yesterday for the European Council summit after scraping through a vote of confidence from her own MPs.

She is seeking changes to the backstop - designed to keep the Irish border open - to ensure Britain doesn't end up trapped in the EU customs union.

What May and Juncker said in furious Brussels row

THERESA MAY: "What did you call me?

"You called me nebulous - yes you did, yes you did."

JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER: "What? No, no I didn't, I didn't."


Jean-Claude Juncker pictured at the summit this morning

A draft version of the summit's conclusions provided a glimmer of hope for the PM, stating that the backstop "does not represent a desirable outcome" for the EU.

It added: "The Union stands ready to examine whether any further assurance can be provided."

But after Mrs May made her pitch to the other 27 leaders, they changed the text to remove both of the helpful statements.


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Instead, the final version calls on EU states to step up No Deal planning.

Mrs May held further talks in Brussels today before flying home later.

The Sun revealed last night that she is planning to hold the delayed vote on her Brexit deal on January 14.

EU boss Jean-Claude Juncker warns Theresa May Brexit deal can't be changed

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