Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Divorce bill focus of Brexit talks on Monday

Divorce bill focus of Brexit talks on Monday

Before the election, May proposed a clean break from the European Union: leaving its single market, which enshrines free movement of people, goods, services and capital, and proposing limits on immigration and a bespoke customs deal with the EU.

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.

May's strategy was thrown into confusion by last week's election in which she squandered her Conservative Party's parliamentary majority.

"If we had a strong signal that she were backsliding I think she would be in major difficulty", the newspaper quoted one unidentified former minister as saying. If she manages to remain in Downing St at all, it will be with a Cabinet demanding more collegial decisions. She promoted one of them, Damian Green, a longtime ally, to first secretary of state and kept in place Philip Hammond, the chancellor of the Exchequer, whom she had meant to fire, according to news reports. "So I don't know whether we would do that, but we might say, "OK, we will not provide health services free of charge" - that might be a Spanish position, for example".

May 2018 English local government elections will provide the Prime Minister with her first widespread electoral test since the disastrous snap election of June 8 2017.

May has clung on to power since the election but has so far failed to strike an agreement with Northern Ireland's ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that would allow her to govern.

His role will be to "develop and negotiate free trade agreements and market access deals with non-EU countries", they said in a statement, suggesting that the government plans to leave the single market following Brexit.

"We have been crystal clear about our approach to these negotiations", said the spokesman.

May previously wanted the trade deal to be discussed in tandem with the split given the lack of time on hand and to win trade-offs, grant certainty to businesses and maintain support for Brexit back home.

But as the first senior royal to discuss Brexit, he claimed companies were eyeing fresh opportunities in non-EU markets once Britain leaves the bloc. He will say that the United Kingdom will remain a committed partner to allies in Europe, and that both sides will emerge from the talks strong and prosperous.

Because things can change quickly and drastically, as evidenced by many unpredictable turns and twists since the Brexit vote in June past year, including the recent snap election and its unanticipated result, it may be wise not to rule out anything.

May's finance minister, Philip Hammond, said on Friday that Britain should prioritize protecting jobs and economic growth. "As the European Union has itself said, 'nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed, '" they added.

The Northern Irish border with European Union member Ireland remains a headache for Brussels.

If May now sends a team to Brussels - ideally on schedule on Monday - that shows willing on the EU's priority "Phase One" issues, then trade talks could get under way by the turn of the year - a step-by-step timetable Barnier says must be followed to limit the risk of a disruptive "no deal".

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