An EU official has confirmed that the bloc rejected a request from Boris Johnson to allow him to involve German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron in Brexit negotiations.
The senior official said the request for a three-way call on Monday was rejected because negotiations were intended to go through the European Commission and not European leaders.
The claim has not been denied by the UK side.
When asked about reports, a No 10 spokesman instead said: “I would point you to the PM’s words yesterday where he said he would go the extra mile to reach a fair deal, including going to Brussels, Paris or to Berlin.”
Pressed that he was not denying reports that the prime minister had been rebuffed, the spokesman said: “I would refer you back to my previous answer. The PM has a clear willingness to talk to other leaders.”
It comes after Macron has insisted that he was not “asking to have my cake and eat it” during Brexit negotiations.
The French president made the remarks over the EU’s fisheries policy, which Downing Street want the bloc to compromise on.
He said: “I’m not asking to have my cake and eat it, no. All I want is a cake that’s worth it’s weight because I won’t give up my share of it either.”