British Prime Minister Theresa May has accused European politicians and officials of seeking to affect the outcome of the UK election by issuing threats over Brexit.

Mrs May has framed the early election as an opportunity to strengthen her hand in upcoming negotiations on Britain's exit from the European Union.

Speaking in front of her Downing Street office after visiting Queen Elizabeth to mark the dissolution of parliament, the formal start of the election campaign, Mrs May said there were some in Brussels who did not want to see Brexit talks succeed.

Over the weekend a German newspaper gave a damning account of a dinner last week between Mrs May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, reporting that he had told Mrs May that Brexit could not be a success.

"Britain's negotiating position in Europe has been misrepresented in the continental press, the European Commission's negotiating stance has hardened, threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials," Mrs May said.

"All of these acts have been deliberately timed to affect the result of the general election."

There was no immediate EU comment on her accusations.

Mrs May has dismissed the German newspaper report as Brussels gossip and yesterday repeated her promise to be a "bloody difficult woman" in talks with Mr Juncker, as brinkmanship between the two sides increased ahead of the negotiations.

She said reaching the best Brexit deal with Brussels would be the overriding task for whoever wins the 8 June election, and urged voters to give her their backing to "fight for Britain".


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Mrs May said that while Britain wanted to reach a deal with the EU, that view was not shared by everyone in Brussels.

"The events of the last few days have shown that, whatever our wishes, and however reasonable the positions of Europe's other leaders - there are some in Brussels who do not want these talks to succeed. Who do not want Britain to prosper."

She said: "If we do not get this right, the consequences will be serious and they will be felt by ordinary working people across the country. This Brexit negotiation is central to everything.

"If we don't get the negotiation right, your economic security and prosperity will be put at risk and the opportunities you seek for your families will simply not happen.

"If we do not stand up and get this negotiation right we risk the secure and well-paid jobs we want for our children and our children's children too.

"If we don't get the negotiation right, if we let the bureaucrats of Brussels run over us, we will lose the chance to build a fairer society with real opportunity for all."