Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has reiterated Prime Minister Theresa May’s claim the European Union is attempting to influence Britain’s upcoming election.
Hunt’s comments in an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, as reported by The Times, follow Theresa May’s own claim that: “Threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials [and] these acts have been deliberately timed to affect the result of the general election that will take place on 8 June.”
The secretary of state doubled down on the prime minister’s accusation of interference in the snap election:
“The choice that people face is, do they want a strong Theresa May doing those difficult negotiations?” he said. “There are 27 countries lined up against us. Some of them appear to think that for the EU to survive Britain must fail.”
Hunt outlined his belief that, “There is something very different about this election because, in a normal election, you are choosing a prime minister for the next five years, but this time we are choosing a prime minister who will do the Brexit negotiations that will last for generations.”
He added: “With a strong Theresa May battling for Britain against those other countries we have the best chance of getting that deal.”
Today's FAZ report on May's disastrous dinner with Juncker – briefed by senior Commission sources – is absolutely damning.
— Jeremy Cliffe (@JeremyCliffe) April 30, 2017
Hunt highlighted leaks of a Downing Street meeting between Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as an example of what the Conservative government sees as an effort to “undermine” the Conservative Party leader ahead of the June 8th poll.
“They didn’t have to leak these reports to newspapers of dinners that happened in the middle of an election campaign,” he said. “It is the wrong approach to negotiations. They are trying to leak reports that undermine Theresa May’s position.”
Insiders have attributed the leaks, which are said to have angered Germany’s Angela Merkel, to Juncker and his chief of staff, Martin Selmayr.
It is alleged that Selmayr, known variously as “Darth Vader”, “Rasputin”, and “The Monster”, according to The Telegraph, took the Brexit vote “very personally” and wants to see negotiations unravel.