Brexit minister Davis: "No doubt" over Britain leaving EU


Philip Hammond has warned failing to secure a Brexit deal would be "very, very bad" for Britain ahead of the start of exit talks in Brussels on Monday. Her approach so far has alienated our allies in Europe, it's weakened our position with the European Union and it's actually got us into the worst possible starting position'.

'The question is do we leave options on the table, and I've said repeatedly - yes, let's leave options on the table'.

Britain and the European Union begin tough Brexit talks on Monday, trying to complete one of the most complex negotiations in history in less than two years.

"When I talk about a Brexit that supports British jobs, British investment and British business I mean a Brexit that avoids those cliff edges", he said.

May's Conservatives need the support of the Protestant DUP's 10 lawmakers to have a majority in parliament, and some have called for the government to take a cross-party approach to Brexit given May's weakened position following the election. They argue instead for a "soft" version, prioritizing some form of continued access to the single market in order to minimize economic damage.

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A key reason May and others press for a hard Brexit is their desire to control and limit immigration from the EU.

Negotiations between David Davis and European Commission's negotiator Michel Barnier will begin on Monday, June 19 in Brussels.

However, it faces the prospect of delivering a Queen's speech while still thrashing out a deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.

While Britain's economy has shown unexpected resilience since the Brexit vote, there are signs of weakness.

But Hammond said transitional arrangements would be necessary, to give business greater certainty. "Everything is all over the place", said a senior executive responsible for Brexit preparations at a FTSE 100 company. The extent of Britain's exit bill needs to be decided, with the EU27 expected to seek tens of billions of euros they see as London's fair share of programs to which it has committed.

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The thought of a clean break also prompted one pro-European activist, Gina Miller, to urge Britons to vote tactically in the general election to deny May the big majority she craved. One fumes that if Hammond succeeds in watering down Brexit then he'll cause "a schism in the Tory party" and multiple Cabinet ministers will resign.

What is more, given the complexity and complication of the Brexit talks, May's lack of authority after the damaging election, and having already needlessly wasted about one-eighth of the precious time available for the talks on the unnecessary election, it is now even more hard, if not impossible, for her to reach an acceptable soft Brexit deal with the European Union and get it approved (by Britain's Parliament and possibly its voters) before March 2019.

There will be a two-day summit of the European Council on June 22 and 23, which will be attended by all 28 EU leaders including Theresa May.

The Frenchman has been given a mandate by the leaders of the remaining EU27 states to focus initially on the key elements of the withdrawal package - a multi-billion euro "divorce bill", rights for European Union citizens and the status of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The Commission, which is leading Brexit negotiations on behalf of the European Union, insisted the process would start in line with its "sequenced approach" to negotiating the UK's departure.

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