Theresa May vows to be ‘bloody difficult’ in Brexit talks with Juncker

Posted On: 
7th July 2016

Theresa May has brushed off criticism from Tory grandee Ken Clarke, telling Conservative colleagues she would be “bloody difficult” in Brexit talks with EU leaders.

Home Secretary Theresa May
PA Images

Former chancellor Mr Clarke this week made a series of unguarded comments about the leadership contenders to succeed David Cameron in Downing Street.

He referred to Ms May as a “bloody difficult woman” and also took swipes at rivals Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom, alongside former mayor Boris Johnson.

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At a Tory hustings last night, Ms May said she would be a tough negotiator during Brexit talks with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker if made Tory leader.

She told MPs: “Ken Clarke might have found me to be a bloody difficult woman. The next person to find that out will be Jean-Claude Juncker”.

Conservative MPs will today decide which two leadership hopefuls are put to a vote of party members to succeed Mr Cameron as Prime Minister.

Home Secretary Ms May, Energy Minister Ms Leadsom and Justice Secretary Mr Gove are vying to be on the final shortlist.

While Ms May is the current frontrunner, the race for the second slot has ramped up after Mr Gove’s campaign chief was forced to apologise for urging the Home Secretary’s supporters not to give their backing to Ms Leadsom.

In a bizarre text to Tory colleagues, Nick Boles said they "must work together" to stop Ms Leadson being one of the two candidates on the ballot paper being sent to party members.

He said he feared Conservative activists could choose her over Mrs May "like they did with IDS" - a reference to Iain Duncan Smith's ill-starred time in charge of the party.

Mr Boles later took to Twitter to apologise for the message, which was brought up during the Conservative leadership hustings last night.

On Tuesday Ms May received 165 votes out of 329 colleagues, with Ms Leadsom second on 66 votes and Mr Gove third with 48.