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Macron accuses UK of ‘no deal’ bluff

European leaders have suggested Britain is “bluffing” about ..

European leaders have suggested Britain is "bluffing" about a "no deal" divorce after a high-stakes summit in Brussels.

French President Emmanuel Macron suggested British ministers were making "noise" and giving "false information" about the risk of a cliff-edge separation with the EU.

"There is one negotiator on the British side, under the political authority of Theresa May," he said at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

"At no point did she mention no deal as an option. There could be noise, there could be bluffing, there could be false information, there could be people who are secondary players – this is for the media to talk about.

"But at no point was (no deal) raised in the official discussions."

Video:May on Brexit: Still some way to go

Over the last few weeks, the risk of a no-deal exit has returned to the fore of the political debate in London, despite the Chancellor's insistence he won't spend money on such a scenario until the latest possible moment.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also said he "hated" the scenario, adding it hadn't come up during the two-day summit.

"When the UK are pleading for the cause of a no deal, nobody explains in detail what they mean," he said.

"It's some kind of British way of carrying out collective education because nobody explained in the first place to the British people what Brexit actually meant."

Jean-Claude Juncker
Image:Jean-Claude Juncker said he 'hated' the idea of no deal

But European Council President Donald Tusk struck a more positive note on Mrs May, saying she had succeeded at "rebooting an atmosphere of trust and good will".

He said the Prime Minister had given talks "new momentum" with her Florence speech, and called reports of a deadlock between negotiators "exaggerated".

Last week Michel Barnier said: "We are at a state of deadlock…. which is very disturbing."

Donald Tusk
Video:Tusk: Brexit deadlock has 'been exaggerated'

Despite the EU27 giving the "green light" to trade talk preparationsamong member states, Mr Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned of the remaining debate over an exit bill.

The financial settlement talks were "not even halfway done", Mr Macron said.

While Mrs Merkel warned: "We hope that by December we have moved along enough to allow phase-two to begin.

"But that depends on the extent to which Great Britain makes progress so that we can say that it is sufficient on the core themes of phase one.

"In this the financial settlement is the most prominent theme."

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