THERESA May has shrugged off reports of a disastrous dinner with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as "Brussels gossip".

The pair reportedly clashed over the PM's desire to make Brexit "a success" and after she refused to pay a penny in any "divorce bill".

German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung claimed Juncker left the meeting at Number 10 feeling pessimistic about the prospects of a Brexit deal.

It reported the European Commission president as saying: "I leave… 10 times more sceptical than I was before."

But May has dismissed the claims and insisted the meeting was constructive.

She continued: "I have to say that from what I've seen of this account, I think it's Brussels gossip.

"And just look at what the European Commission themselves said immediately after the dinner took place, which was that the talks had been constructive.
"But it also shows that these negotiations are at times going to be tough."

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The day after the meeting, Juncker reportedly told German chancellor Angela Merkel that May was "deluding herself" and "living in another galaxy" when it came to the issue of Brexit talks.

But speaking on the Andrew Marr show, May said: "I'm not in a different galaxy.

"I think what this shows and what some of the other comments we've seen coming from other European leaders show is that there are going to be times when these negotiations are going to be tough.

"That's why you need strong and stable leadership in order to conduct those negotiations and get the best deal for Britain."

Opposition parties in the UK have seized on the German account of the dinner.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "These reports have blown a massive hole in the Conservative Party's arguments.

"It's clear this government has no clue and is taking the country towards a disastrous hard Brexit.

"This election offers us a chance to change the direction of our country, keep Britain in the single market and give the people the final say over what happens next."

While Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "She seems to be sending rather mixed messages.

"To start negotiations by threatening to walk away with no deal and set up a low tax economy on the shores of Europe is not a very sensible way of approaching people with whom half of our trade is done at the present time."

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