Britain and European Union clash over who takes next Brexit step

12 October, 2017, 01:03 | Author: Pamela Mathis
  • MPs call on May to appoint'no deal secretary

The prime minister has refused to say she would vote for Brexit if given the chance again.

Six months of Brexit negotiations have passed with little progress. Davis - at May's side for her statement to parliament on Monday - will be in Brussels on Tuesday and is expected to have lunch with Barnier, officials said, while Wednesday's timetable remains empty for now.

But the EU stuck to its terms: "There is a clear sequencing to these talks and there has been so far no solution found on step one, which is the divorce proceedings", European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a regular briefing. In one of the most weird British political speeches in memory, May's address on Wednesday to her annual conference was ruined by coughing fits, a comedian handing her a bogus employment termination notice, and by letters falling off the slogans on the set behind her.

With six months of the two-year negotiating period already up, officials and business leaders have become increasingly anxious that both sides may not agree to a final deal in time.

Theresa May updated MPs in the House of Commons earlier this week, saying: "Achieving that partnership [with the EU] will require leadership and flexibility, not just from us but from our friends, the 27 nations of the EU".

The PM added: "What I'm going to say to Nina is that we will look at the arrangements that we would put in place in relation to 'no-deal.' We're doing that at the moment - government across the board is doing work on that".

- Britain will not revoke Article 50, which would stop the Brexit talks and keep Britain in the EU.

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Business groups have been eager for the government to confirm what will happen immediately after March 2019, when Britain formally leaves the EU.

European Union negotiators say that while they see no big breakthrough at the summit next week, they may offer May a hand by offering hope of a shift at the next scheduled meeting in mid-December.

She campaigned for Remain in last year's referendum, but is now tasked with steering the United Kingdom out of the European Union.

Responding to backbench MP Jacob Rees-Mogg during Brexit questions in the House of Commons, the prime minister said Britain wanted an orderly withdrawal from the European Union and "that may mean we will start off with the ECJ governing the rules that we are part of".

Some have suggested that May will reshuffle her cabinet, but her spokesman said she had full confidence in both ministers. Her survival has so far been dependent on the absence of an obvious successor who could unite the split party around Brexit and fear of an election that many Conservatives think would let opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn into power.

"I have long believed that the EU Commission primarily wants to punish Britain for daring to leave the organization", he said.

"We're working really hard to get a really good deal".

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