Merkel set to snub Cameron on UK visit

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Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, will deliver a diplomatic snub this week to the Conservative leader David Cameron.

She will not meet Mr Cameron when she travels to Britain on Thursday for talks with Gordon Brown.

Ms Merkel will join the Prime Minister for lunch at his Chequers country house. But she has found no space in her diary to meet Mr Cameron – even though the polls suggest he could be in Downing Street within six weeks.

Ms Merkel was livid over Mr Cameron's decision to withdraw the Conservatives from the centre-right European People's Party grouping, which includes her Christian Democrat party.

A spokeswoman for the Tory leader said it had not been possible to arrange a meeting as the "timetable was too tight".

She said Ms Merkel had invited him to visit her in Berlin, which the party hoped to arrange, although it would be "tricky" before the election.