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

Lucy Bush
June 18, 2017

Arriving for a meeting with his counterparts in the 28-country EU, Philip Hammond said his "clear view and I believe the view of the majority of people in Britain is that we should prioritize protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward".

"As we enter negotiations next week we will do so in a spirit of honest cooperation taking a pragmatic approach to trying to find a solution that works both for the United Kingdom and for the European Union 27", he said.

Nicola Sturgeon took to Twitter to point out that this was all happening before May had managed to secure any agreement with the DUP to prop up her fledgling minority government.

DUP leader Arlene Foster insisted that any deal with the Conservatives would not undermine the province's peace accords.

"We want to see a Brexit that works for everybody, not just for Northern Ireland", she said.

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.

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Barnier and British Brexit Secretary David Davis will open the talks on Monday at 11 a.m.in Brussels and they'll continue on Tuesday with top officials from the European Commission and the U.K.'s Brexit department.

Mr Davis is expected to meet Mr Barnier at the Commission's headquarters in Belgian capital Brussels on Monday but it is not known how long the initial round of talks will last.

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

"Theresa May must immediately create a cross-party joint cabinet committee to negotiate Brexit".

The prospect of Brexit has sent a wave of concern through Britain's business sector.

Barnier this week acknowledged "sensitivity" in London at European Union suggestions that Britain might owe it some 60 billion euros in 2019 and said sorting out the issue soon would help a trade deal: "I would like to very quickly play down this question, and find concrete, pragmatic and just solutions", he said on Monday.

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Whitehall believed they could negotiate a future trade deal while also working through the three strands of the divorce, namely the settling of the UK's debts with the European Union, the rights of European Union citizens living in the United Kingdom and UK citizens living in the European Union, and the Irish border.

"We're still in uncharted waters today and we don't know exactly how it's going to look, so we've got to plan ahead".

But as the first senior royal to discuss Brexit, he claimed companies were eyeing fresh opportunities in non-EU markets once Britain leaves the bloc.

The article states that discussions on a member's withdrawal must "take account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union".

"And actually, getting over the fence, there might be some fresh grass out there".

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