Theresa May has vowed to be "bloody difficult" in negotiations with the European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker

 
Mark Sands
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Theresa May Attends Conservative Party Election Campaign Events Across Lancashire
The UK will head to the polls on 8 June. (Source: Getty)

Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to be "bloody difficult" in talks with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, as she seeks to move on from reports of a disastrous meeting last week.

May has repeatedly denied suggestions of a clash with Juncker at Downing Street talks last week, dismissing the claims as "Brussels gossip".

And speaking to the BBC today, May stressed her credentials for the negotiations, reviving a line first used by Tory MP Ken Clarke during the Conservative leadership contest.

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"I think what we've seen recently is that at times these negotiations are going to be tough," May said.

"During the Conservative leadership campaign, I was described by one of my colleagues as a bloody difficult woman. And I said at the time the next person to find that out would be Jean-Claude Juncker."

Clarke branded May with the epithet during unguarded comments to former Tory MP Malcolm Rifkind during the contest.

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Asked if she would be able to resolve concerns around the futures of EU nationals in the UK and Brits abroad as soon as June, May said: "I have always said that I want this to be an issue that we address at an early stage.

"I've always said that there are complexities to this issue and lots of detail that needs to be agreed. What people want to know is to have some reassurance about their future. I believe we can give that at an early stage. I've got the will to do this."

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