The Home Secretary accused Brussels of carrying out a “hostile” act by attempting to meddle with Theresa May’s chances in the upcoming general election.
The Prime Minister used a speech on Wednesday to allege the European Commission had sought to influence the vote, after a detailed account of a meeting between her and Jean-Claude Juncker was published in a German newspaper.
She said: “The European Commission’s negotiating stance has hardened. Threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials.
“All of these acts have been deliberately timed to affect the result of the General Election.”
Ms Rudd told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics: “It seems very clear that they did meddle insofar as they put out these very unhelpful, slightly hostile, comments both in terms of the potential leak – I don’t know how much of it was true in terms of gossip that came from the dinner – and then putting out that Theresa May shouldn’t be leading the negotiations, and then somehow supporting this idea that there is a €100 billion (£84bn) bill.
“This is quite aggressive negotiating tactics.”
When pressed to describe how it is an attack on the Prime Minister, The Home Secretary added: “What it had to do with the General Election is we are in a general election period.
“Now, the fact is this is a short general election period – from the moment she called it to June 8 is about seven weeks.
“We are now approaching the five-week mark, but why would it not be possible to hold onto your aggression, perhaps your opening negotiating salvos during an election period?
“It seems extraordinary to me that they would launch it during an election period.”
The EU’s €100bn estimate for the UK’s potential divorce settlement may have been dealt a blow after reports suggest it is “legally impossible” to enforce.
According to reports in the Telegraph, there have been deliberations inside Brussels’ own negotiating team, which…