British PM May has "full confidence" in finance minister Hammond


She said she was planning to hand Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, a copy of her anti-Brexit picture book, "Theresa Maybe in Brexitland" to show that many Britons opposed the decision to quit the EU.

Michel Barnier said that despite the "constructive spirit" shown in this week's fifth round of talks, "we haven't made any great steps forward".

The leaders meet in Brussels on October 19-20, and with time short to seal a deal it had been hoped they would agree to widen the talks.

"On citizens' rights, we have made further progress to give British citizens in the European Union and EU27 citizens in the United Kingdom the greatest possible legal certainty about the future", he said.

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Hammond said it's conceivable "there will be no air traffic between the United Kingdom and the European Union on the 30th of March 2019, but I don't seriously think anybody believes that is where we will get to".

"Over the next few weeks I will explore the way forward, if there is the necessary will, ways of getting out of this deadlock we found ourselves in on the financial issues with the view of making sufficient progress by the next European Council", he said.

Barnier told the news conference that he would follow a mandate ruling out any discussion of the future before issues arising from Britain's past membership are settled and said it was important to respect the "sequencing".

Britain must leave the European Union on March 29, 2019, but the negotiations must be completed within about a year to leave time for European Union states' national parliaments to ratify the Brexit agreement. The pound traded down by as much as 0.6 percent against the euro after Barnier spoke.

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"The UK repeated that it was still not ready to spell out these commitments", Barnier said.

"There have negotiations on this subject".

With the clock ticking, Barnier reaffirmed that parting with "no deal will be a very bad deal".

Earlier Lawson, who served as finance minister between 1983 and 1989, said Hammond may be inadvertently undermining the government's Brexit plans and should be removed from office.

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A worst-case Brexit scenario could see all air traffic between the United Kingdom and the European Union grounded the day after Britain leaves the bloc on 29 March, 2019, the country's Chancellor said on Wednesday (11 October). "With David Davis, we will organise several negotiating meetings between now and the end of the year".