Don't waste time, EU Brexit chief tells Britain

Don't waste time, EU Brexit chief tells Britain

A week after May lost her majority in an election she had called in the hope of strengthening her hand in the talks, some fellow Conservatives want her to focus more on limiting the damage to business and less on cutting immigration and other ties to the European Union when Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.

DAVID Davis and Michel Barnier confirm they will face off for the first round of Brexit talks in Brussels on Monday.

On Monday, the European Commission insisted it was "fully prepared and ready for the negotiations to start" the process.

Britain's finance minister said Friday that protecting jobs and the economy should be the main focus in upcoming discussions over the country's exit from the European Union.

Significant progress in talks on the budget and citizens' rights issue, as well as on issues around the new EU-UK land border in Ireland, would allow EU leaders to give Barnier a mandate by December to discuss a future, close relationship and, potentially, years of transition after 2019 to smooth its way.

The UK Government wants the talks to take place in parallel during the Brexit process.

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Prime Minister Theresa May wants to negotiate the divorce and the future trading relationship with the European Union before Britain leaves in March 2019, followed by what she calls a phased implementation process to give business time to prepare for the impact of Brexit.

Mrs May's weakened position in the House of Commons as a result of losing her majority has fuelled speculation the Tories would be forced to soften their stance on Brexit.

Since her gamble on a snap election failed a week ago, May has come under pressure from some in her own party to change her approach to Brexit talks.

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said: "The Conservatives can not go from weak and wobbly to business as usual in three days".

These concerns were echoed by former prime minister Sir John Major who has warned that the Government will compromise its stated impartiality if it enters a confidence and supply deal with the DUP at Westminster. "It is the only way to unite the country and strengthen our bargaining power with the European Union".

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