Talks on British exit from European Union begin in Brussels

The DUP had made it clear, he added, that they did not want "an unstable government undermining our union" and wanted to see us "go ahead with the Brexit negotiations with a sensible government in place".

The intervention comes after Brexit Secretary David Davis was seen to have been dealt a blow in the opening day of withdrawal negotiations with the European Union, after it was agreed trade deal talks would not begin until October at the earliest.

With discontent in europhile Scotland and troubled Northern Ireland, which faces a new European Union border across the divided island, Brexit poses new threats to the integrity of the United Kingdom. Both sides need an agreement to keep trade flowing between the world's biggest trading bloc and the fifth largest global economy.

Britain's political instability has caused concerns in European capitals hoping to get the negotiations over with quickly and cleanly, as has May's oft-repeated threat to walk away from the talks without a deal if necessary. "We are having good, constructive discussions and I am confident we will reach a sensible agreement". The EU insists that trade talks should wait until an outline agreement on divorce terms has been agreed, ideally by the end of this year.

After seven hours of talks in Brussels, Mr Davis - who had previously promised the "row of the summer" over the timetable for the negotiations - said he was optimistic about the talks.

The Mechanical Engineering Industry Association, known by its German initials VDMA, says that that goal of the two-year negotiating process is "damage limitation" because Brexit won't benefit either side.

The association represents 3,200 businesses with a million employees in Germany making industrial machinery.

May's government said it was "confident it can achieve a bold and ambitious deal that will work in the interest of the whole U.K".

Barnier said he hoped the talks, starting nearly a year to the day after a British referendum vote to leave the EU, would "identify priorities and a timetable that would allow me to report to the European Council later this week that we had a constructive opening of negotiations".

He added: "It's not as if Europe is leaving Britain; Britain wants to leave the EU". "In a second step, we will scope our future partnership".

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson remained upbeat Monday and thinks the Brexit negotiations will yield "a happy resolution that can be done with profit and honour for both sides".

A special dialogue involving senior negotiators from each side has been set up to consider the issue, with Mr Davis' official Olly Robbins holding talks with Mr Barnier's deputy Sabine Weyand on the issue.

"In general of the view relative to the hawkish person she is replacing (Forbes) and the view that new members do not usually jump straight into a bias, we would assume a slight swing to a more dovish vote", wrote Nomura market analysts in a note to clients.

'There's much more good will among our European partners than you might think from the debate in the United Kingdom right now'.

  • Leroy Wright