European Union exerts pressure on United Kingdom; demands clarity before Brexit talks

A week after May lost her majority in an election she had called in the hope of strengthening her hand in the talks, some fellow Conservatives want her to focus more on limiting the damage to business and less on cutting immigration and other ties to the European Union when Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.

Theresa May's loss of a majority has given the government major headaches over Brexit.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron called for a cross-party committee to be set up to handle the Brexit negotiations.

Guy Verhofstadt said he believes the move to quit the European Union began as an internal dispute in the Conservative Party rather being about the United Kingdom leaving the bloc.

Not only did the result suggest there isn't much enthusiasm for May's threats to leave the European Union without a deal, it shows the Tories would be vulnerable if a badly-managed Brexit did economic damage.

The source then suggested the government would proceed with its program with or without the DUP's backing.

Former Tory PM John Major was among the most vocal critics, as he said the deal would make Britain appear partial to the Unionist cause, potentially rekindling conflict between the Catholics and Protestants in the region.

His comments came as Leave campaigner and newly restored Cabinet minister Michael Gove indicated the Government could be ready to pursue a softer approach to Brexit.

And these conditions are clear: citizens first, the four freedoms... that are fully integrated in the single market, a fair financial settlement and... the respect for an effective legal framework in this.

Mr Barnier, whose department has spent months preparing for Brexit, said: I can't negotiate with myself.

It is passing quicker than anyone believes because the subjects we have to deal with are extraordinarily complex.

Asked if he was now accepting Brussels' timetable, as set out by chief negotiator Michel Barnier, Mr Davis said: "What we have said is we will start down this process but I will have some discussions with Mr Barnier about how we progress to the wider thing of the trade area".

Referring to speculation that negotiations could be extended until March 2019, Barnier said: "If we work seriously, I see neither the usefulness nor the interest of pushing back this date".

The FT, citing anonymous officials, said Davis would offer to guarantee the rights that European Union citizens now have in Britain, such as the freedom to move and work in the country, and aim to treat them "as fairly as they have been to this point".

A diplomatic source said the meeting consisted of preparatory discussions ahead of the main talks and that further contacts would continue this week.

"Thus the four freedoms go together".

"We take the decision as a matter of respect".

  • Leroy Wright