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EU says divorce bill, citizens' rights focus of Brexit talks

18 June 2017

The political turmoil in the United Kingdom has not deterred Prime Minister Theresa May, who intends to lead Britain into talks with European Union figures next week, while back home she tries to arrange a minority government deal with Northern Irish party the DUP. "But the withdrawal and future are intimately linked". We want to end the anxiety facing four million citizens.

We now know that at precisely 11:00 BST on Monday morning, nearly exactly a year after the Brexit referendum, the all important exit negotiations will begin.

Speaking as he arrived for the European Union meeting, Mr Hammond said: "We should prioritise protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward".

Britain's Brexit minister David Davis said Britain could still walk away from negotiations with the European Union with no deal, and it was important to keep that option as talks over the terms of Britain's departure from the bloc begin.

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The Chancellor had been due to use a high-profile speech in the City of London on Thursday night to send out a message that the Government would protect business from shocks during the Brexit process.

Mr Hammond's comments are likely to be seen as reflecting a softer approach to Brexit than Mrs May, who has insisted that no deal would be better than a bad deal.

The event was cancelled in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

"We will build the broadest possible consensus for our Brexit plans and that means giving Parliament the maximum amount of time to scrutinise these bills by holding a two-year session of Parliament", she said.

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"Both sides will also discuss the structure of the negotiations and the issues that need to be addressed over the coming months".

The government has developed a strategy of "hard Brexit" to cut the numbers of immigrants arriving from the EU at the expense of Britain's membership of the European single market and customs union.

Critics of her approach have urged her to give ground in order to safeguard jobs and the economy.

The announcement followed speculation that talks may have to be delayed because of the inconclusive outcome of last week's General Election, which has already forced the State Opening of Parliament to be put back from June 19 to 21. "There must be a new spirit of openness and transparency, in which challenge and scrutiny are welcomed".

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