Friday, 20 October, 2017

Britain-EU Brexit talks to start Monday as planned

Brexit talks may not start on June 19 David Davis suggests Brexit talks may not start on June 19 David Davis suggests
Mae Harvey | 18 June, 2017, 00:03

"They can't have it both ways, it has to be dealt with sensibly", she said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday failed to strike a government deal in an initial round of talks with Northern Ireland's ultra-conservative DUP party, leaving the EU's Brexit negotiator wondering when divorce talks would begin. The price of such a deal remains unclear.

The Conservatives have reached a "broad agreement" with the DUP, a source told AFP on Thursday.

May has given no indication she will change course on the key elements of Brexit; but whatever her plan she will be heavily reliant upon the 10 lawmakers from the eurosceptic DUP, who would help her edge past the 326 votes needed in parliament to avoid the government collapsing.

A DUP spokesperson said there had been a break in tasks due to parliamentary business.

Talks with Mrs May would continue into next week.

But speaking in Dublin after a meeting with the new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the DUP leader Arlene Foster said it was down to Sinn Fein whether an agreement is reached.

She is also trying to contain outrage at home over a London tower block fire which left at least 30 people dead. We want to end the anxiety facing 4m citizens.

Ireland's new prime minister will meet his British counterpart, Theresa May, for the first time on Monday to discuss Brexit and the political deadlock in the Northern Irish regional assembly.

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"We want to see a Brexit that works for everybody, not just in Northern Ireland from my perspective but in the Republic of Ireland as well, so it is about a sensible Brexit", Foster told reporters. The DUP is one of the most socially conservative parties in Europe, having sought to maintain some of its strictest limits on abortion and consistently opposed gay marriage.

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said: "The Conservatives can not go from weak and wobbly to business as usual in three days".

May wants to negotiate the divorce and the future trading relationship with the European Union before Britain leaves in March 2019, followed by what she calls a phased implementation process to give business time to prepare for the impact of the divorce.

But a lacklustre campaign saw her high approval rating slip away, and support for her "hard Brexit" strategy - pulling out of the European single market and customs union - now hangs in the balance.

May's botched election gamble has left her so weakened that her Brexit strategy is the subject of public debate inside her party, with two former prime ministers calling on her to soften her European Union exit approach.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said the Government's priority in the negotiations should be to protect jobs, economic growth and prosperity.

Britain's Brexit ministry said on Friday that no deal could be struck on exiting unless the future relationship with the bloc was taken into account.

But Mr Davis insisted the United Kingdom still wants to negotiate its future trade relationship with the European Union "alongside" talks on the terms for Brexit, which he said was the process set out in Article 50 of the European Union treaties.

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