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First round of Brexit talks to begin on Monday June 19

18 June, 2017, 00:02 | Author: Paula Vaughn
  • EU’s Guy Verhofstadt says uncertainty over UK’s Brexit stance ‘cannot continue

But a lacklustre campaign saw her high approval rating slip away, and support for her "hard Brexit" strategy - pulling out of the European single market and customs union - now hangs in the balance.

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.

Talks are due to begin on Monday, before the new government has been agreed upon.

Prime Minister Theresa May in March formally notified the European Union of its intention to leave, starting a two-year timetable for negotiating the exit.

"The danger is that however much any government tries they will not be seen to be impartial if they are locked into a parliamentary deal at Westminster with one of the Northern Ireland parties", he told BBC radio.

Hundreds of protesters chanting "we want justice" stormed a local town hall on Friday afternoon and May had to leave a meeting with residents under heavy police guard.

European politicians also appeared to detect a shift in the mood around Brexit, with France's Macron saying the door was open until the negotiations had concluded for Britain to remain a member of the EU.

May has given no indication she will change course on the key elements of Brexit; but whatever her plan she will be heavily 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.

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Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionists both agree a deal to restore a powersharing administration in Northern Ireland can be done by the end of the month. They have struggled for years with nationalists, who want the British province to join a united Ireland.

Former Conservative prime minister John Major has also raised doubts about the deal and its impact on the province's "fragile" peace.

But the DUP leader insisted it was now down to Sinn Féin whether an agreement is done.

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

"We know each other and we understand each other", she said.

As the European Union has itself said, "nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed". Data on Wednesday showed average weekly pay in the three months to April fell by 0.4 per cent on the year in inflation-adjusted terms - the biggest fall since the three months to September 2014.

Ireland's new prime minister will meet his British counterpart, Theresa May, for the first time on Monday to discuss Brexit and the political deadlock in the Northern Irish regional assembly.

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