Brexit: 'Put economy first' say business groups

May has clung on to power but has so far failed to conclude an agreement with Northern Ireland's ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party that would bolster her ability to govern.

An increasingly concerned European Union has been pushing London to hurry up, with time running out for a deal and three months already gone since May triggered the two-year Article 50 European Union exit process. At one of the most important junctures for Europe and the West since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, May's government is reeling from a crisis of her own making - the loss of her parliamentary majority in a June 8 snap election she did not need to call.

The publication of the letter coincides with the start of Brexit negotiations in Brussels today, led by Brexit secretary David Davis.

Despite the uncertainty over her ability to govern, Mrs May said Brexit negotiations would begin as planned on Monday.

Once agreement has been made in this phase of the talks, the second phase discussing the future trade relationship can begin. "We must secure a deal that works for all parts of the United Kingdom, and enables us to become a truly global Britain". The EU insists that should wait until an outline agreement on divorce terms, ideally by the end of this year.

There's little evidence Britons have changed their mind over leaving the EU.

Davis said he hopes to agree "a deal like no other in history".

With May still hammering out the details of a post-election deal to stay in power with the support of a small Northern Irish party, there are fears of a disorderly exit that would weaken the West, imperil Britain's $2.5 trillion economy and undermine London's position as the only financial centre to rival NY.

A slow response to last week's horrific inferno in a London tower block only added to speculation May won't be in office much longer.

"We are not turning our backs on Europe", he said in the statement. "I suppose it isn't quite a strong and stable Brexit yet".

The British team includes the permanent secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) Olly Robbins; Phillip Rycroft, the department's second permanent secretary; and Simon Case, the newly appointed director-general of the UK-EU Partnership.

When 52 per cent of British voters opted for Brexit, some feared for the survival of a Union battered by the euro crisis and divided in its response to chaotic immigration.

Some European officials say that could take years.

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said suspending next year's speech would help MPs and Lords build the "broadest possible consensus for our Brexit plans".

It comes as the chancellor, Philip Hammond, appeared to be at odds with the prime minister as he told BBC's Andrew Marr show yesterday that leaving in 2019 with no deal "would be a very, very bad outcome for Britain". They argue instead for a "soft" version, prioritizing some form of continued access to the single market in order to minimize economic damage.

Britain enters the negotiations with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May facing huge political challenges at home following an election which saw her Conservative party lose its majority in Parliament.

"I hope that today we can identify priorities and a timetable to allow me to report to (EU leaders) later this week (that) we had a constructive opening of negotiations".

  • Leroy Wright