Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Finally, Britain kicks off Brexit negotiations with EU

Finally, Britain kicks off Brexit negotiations with EU

Davis is to meet Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, to kick off hugely complex withdrawal negotiations that are expected to conclude within two years.

Anxious by mass immigration and loss of sovereignty, Britain past year voted to end its decades-old membership of the 28-nation bloc in a shock referendum result.

Mr Eastwood said in a statement: "The context in which the talks process is now being asked to operate in could have very serious consequences if there is any suggestion of a back room deal with the DUP".

British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative party resumed talks on a deal to prop up her minority government on Wednesday as she faced a battle over her Brexit strategy just days before European Union divorce talks are due to begin.

Underlining the difficulty of the task confronting May, The Sunday Telegraph reported the prime minister will face an immediate leadership challenge from eurosceptic lawmakers in her party if she seeks to water down her plans for Brexit.

Mrs Foster arrived in Downing Street with Nigel Dodds at lunchtime for negotiations with the Prime Minister but they decamped to Parliament to allow Mrs May and the DUP's deputy leader to speak in the Commons.

The government is due to present its programme at the opening of parliament on Wednesday, which will be followed by a key confidence vote days later. But the government will double the length of the session to let lawmakers debate Britain's approach to Brexit without interruption.

Critics argue she is in a weak position to fight Britain's corner against European Union counterparts who question whether her writ still runs in Westminster.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who is newly influential after winning 13 seats in Scotland, has said Britain should prioritise "freedom to trade and our economic growth". We will be leaving the single market and by the way, we will be leaving the customs union.

"The Europeans have never wanted Brexit".

But Hammond said transitional arrangements would be necessary, to give business greater certainty.

Uncertainty over Brexit has already had a "negative impact on everybody in Europe, especially on Britain", said Mr Verhofstadt.

Davis, who heads to Brussels on Monday to open Brexit talks with the bloc, said that there would be no backtracking from Prime Minister Theresa May's plan.

Working groups were to take place later to focus on three key areas - the status of European Union citizens living in Britain and British citizens living in the European Union; the divorce bill for Britain; and the status of the Northern Irish border with Ireland.

And Hammond described the divorce bill figures being bandied around in Brussels as "the most egregious pre-negotiation posturing".

Many in Britain have seen the election result as repudiating May's threats to walk away without a deal.

HSBC, which has 43,000 employees in Britain, said in January that it was planning to move "activities covered specifically by European financial regulation" to the EU, which would shift about 1,000 jobs out of the UK.

He said: "We are impatiently waiting for the negotiating position of the United Kingdom gov (ernment)".

- June 21 - The Queen's Speech sets out details of extensive UK Government legislation required to put Brexit into effect, expected to include a Great Repeal Bill bringing European Union laws and regulations onto the British statute book, as well as bills on issues including immigration and customs.

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