UK's Hammond says economy should be priority in Brexit talks

18 June, 2017, 00:07 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • The rebate was negotiated by Margaret Thatcher

"We will negotiate in good faith but it is a negotiation, we recognize there will be an exchange of views and we will take that forward in a spirit of genuine cooperation".

May will head to Paris later on Tuesday to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, who has just won an impressive victory in the first round of parliamentary elections.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, he said: "The election has left our country yet more divided, right at the time when we most need unity".

Speaking to the Parliament in Strasbourg, he made clear he believes the rebate negotiated by Margaret Thatcher in 1984 and worth up to £5 billion a year to the United Kingdom, along with opt-outs in areas like open borders, monetary union and justice, could be up for grabs if Britain decides to stay.

If May now sends a team to Brussels - ideally on schedule on Monday - that shows willing on the EU's priority "Phase One" issues, then trade talks could get under way by the turn of the year - a step-by-step timetable Barnier says must be followed to limit the risk of a disruptive "no deal".

Philip Hammond, Britain's finance minister, says protecting the British economy should be the main goal of upcoming negotiations over the country's exit from the European Union.

Demanding a swift start to Brexit negotiations under Article 50 of the European Union treaties, the former Belgian prime minister compared Britain's position to the heroine of Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland, who found herself in a room with many doors and no idea what lay behind them.

But a newly appointed junior Brexit minister, Steve Baker, told Reuters: "I don't foresee any change".

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A spokesman for his Department for Exiting the European Union said Britain had been "crystal clear" about its approach.

As the European Union has itself said, "nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed".

"Like Alice in Wonderland, not all the doors are the same".

May will also be reliant upon the 10 lawmakers from the eurosceptic DUP, who would help her edge past the 326 votes needed in parliament to avoid the government collapsing.

Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein said the prospect of a British agreement with the DUP was causing anxiety and fear.

May gambled that a strong election win, as forecast by some pollsters, would boost her majority in the House of Commons in time for the Brexit talks, but instead, her party surrendered 13 seats in the lower chamber. The UK leaving the European Union was "the most likely outcome", she added.

British Prime Minister Theresa May faced further delays in forming her new government on Wednesday after her would-be allies said their agreement would be put back following a deadly tower block blaze in London.

While the DUP are deeply eurosceptic, they have balked at some of the practical implications of a so-called hard Brexit - including a potential loss of a "frictionless border" with the Republic of Ireland - and talks will touch on efforts to minimize the potential damage to Northern Ireland.

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