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Has Juncker’s cabinet head inadvertently boosted Johnson’s leadership prospects?

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Credit: PA

The most revealing statement made today was a tweet by Jean-Claude Juncker's chief of staff, the German lawyer Martin Selmayr, that he and Juncker have “no interest in weakening PM”.

This was in response to the supposed leak in Germany’s FAZ Sunday edition of Juncker’s reflections on his dinner last week with Theresa May - which reported that the European Commission president viewed May as "anxious, despondent and disheartened" and in urgent need of “help” from EU leaders in Brexit talks.

Theresa May pictured at a EU summit in Brussels last week. Credit: AP

But it also “revealed” that Merkel, Macron and Juncker would prefer to continue negotiating with May than with the “dream dancer” (!!!) Boris Johnson.

As it happens I have been told repeatedly and reliably that Merkel in particular regards the prospect of Johnson becoming prime minister, and therefore her counterpart in Brexit talks, with the relish that most of us would feel if presented with a plate of steaming sick.

And the knee-jerk tweet from Selmayr, who is close to Merkel - when accused by May’s former aide Nick Timothy of being the leaker - more or less confirmed that.

But here is the Machiavellian rub.

Many Tory MPs, especially the Brexit True Believers, would regard it as a qualification for a wannabe PM that he or she should be feared and loathed by Berlin, Paris and Brussels.

So has the supposed genius of political manipulation Selmayr for once over-reached himself - by inadvertently improving Johnson’s prospects of supplanting May?

Anyway as usual with such EU shenanigans, I am torn between interpreting all this as subtle conspiracy or crude cock up.