UK's Hammond Calls for `Pragmatic' Brexit to Safeguard Economy

British officials have insisted since May's election setback last week that the first round of Brexit talks will take place next week. However, it faces the prospect of delivering a Queen's speech while still thrashing out a deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.

The Conservatives have 317 MPs while the DUP have 10.

Monday's negotiations are to open at 11:00am in Brussels (0900 GMT) with 90 minutes of talks between Barnier and Davis, followed by a working lunch between the pair and a press conference.

"Our focus over the last couple of days has obviously been on the tragic fire a Grenfell Tower in West London and our thoughts are with the families of those who died and the community in that area", he said.

The government on Saturday said parliament would hold a special two-year session starting this week, sitting for double the normal time to allow it to overhaul European Union legislation.

Working groups will be set up to focus on three key areas - the status of EU citizens living in Britain and British citizens living in the EU; the divorce bill for Britain; and the future of the Northern Irish border with EU member Ireland.

But her vulnerability at home means that her plan to leave the EU's lucrative single market and customs union in order to impose strict limits on immigration is under intense scrutiny.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, wants Britain to leave both.

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.

"My clear view, and I believe the view of the majority of people in Britain, is that we should prioritize protecting jobs, protecting economic growth, protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations", Hammond told reporters before a meeting of the 28 European Union finance ministers in Luxembourg.

The Government have confirmed that Brexit Secretary David Davis will be in Brussels at the start of the week for meetings with the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said Britain should prioritise jobs and prosperity and take a "pragmatic" approach as it begins Brexit talks next week.

Her spokesman said Britain would not change its stance on Brexit, though May told her lawmakers she would seek a broader consensus in the party on her approach.

  • Arturo Norris