Can Martin Selmayr’s denials be trusted?

Can Martin Selmayr’s denials be trusted?
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Martin Selmayr, the so-called ‘monster’ of Brussels, has reacted angrily to claims that he set out to punish Britain over Brexit. Selmayr, controversially elevated last year to become secretary general of the European Commission, was said to have told a meeting in Brussels in November that ‘the power is with us’ in Brexit trade talks. The claim was repeated in a detailed article by Tory MP Greg Hands, who sets out allegations that Selmayr and Sabine Weyand, another top EU official, crafted the Brexit deal in order to inflict maximum pain on Britain. Needless to say, Selmayr isn’t happy. This morning, he shared a link to Hands’ Conservative Home piece saying:

Hands responded by saying:

Having been asked to clarify which bit of the article is ‘false’, Selmayr has since kept quiet. So who should we believe? And can the 'monster’s' denials be trusted? To help readers make up their minds, here is Mr S’s round-up of the times where Selmayr has called out inaccuracies:

The angry row with Donald Tusk:

When Selmayr was caught on camera being told off by Donald Tusk last October, Selmayr was clear that, despite what it might look like, this wasn't an argument:

The President of the European Council @eucopresident had a factual question to the @EU_Commission before his press conference, and I helped out. Very simple.

— Martin Selmayr (@MartinSelmayr) October 18, 2018

The Raab response:

Selmayr made another denial in November in response to an interview in the Sunday Times with Dominic Raab. The former Brexit secretary had said ‘the trail always seems to lead back to Martin Selmayr’ when it came to threats being made against Britain. Selmayr responded by saying:

‘Mr Raab and I never met. This may explain why he does not say the truth.’

And yet Mr S. couldn't help but notice that, in the Sunday Times article, Raab didn't actually claim that he had met Raab.

Theresa May's leaks:

When embarrassing details from Theresa May's dinner with Jean-Claude Juncker were leaked, the finger of suspicion fell on one person: Juncker's then-chief of staff Martin Selmayr. May’s own former chief of staff, Nick Timothy, said Selmayr was likely to be the source of the leaks. Selmayr responded to the claim by saying it was nothing to do with him:

This is false. I know it does't fit your cliché, @NickJTimothy. But @JunckerEU & I have no interest in weakening PM

— Martin Selmayr (@MartinSelmayr) October 23, 2017

Mr S feels somewhat sorry for Selmayr being blamed for things that he shouldn't be...

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from London and beyond. Email tips to