Thursday, 22 June, 2017

Britain to hold special two-year parliament session to tackle Brexit

Theresa May GETTYTheresa May is ready to go ahead with the Queen's Speech
Nellie Chapman | 20 June, 2017, 02:40

Such is the collapse of May's authority that her entire Brexit strategy is being picked apart in public by her ministers, her lawmakers and her allies on the eve of formal negotiations which begin in Brussels on Monday at 0900 GMT.

Britain's negotiations with the European Union over its exit from the bloc begin on Monday and stand to be complicated by the surprise loss of Prime Minister Theresa May's parliamentary majority in a national election last week.

Brexit Secretary David Davis will meet with the European Commission's chief negotiator Michel Barnier tomorrow morning.

Britain seems to have tacitly accepted the EU's plan for sequenced talks, which will focus first on the terms of Britain's withdrawal, with negotiations on a future relationship and trade deal coming later.

Another scoundrel in the eyes of Eurosceptics, the European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator's role will grow as the talks near their end because MEPs will have a veto over any final deal. Would we then say that they shouldn't be in government in the Republic?

The issue most likely to torpedo negotiations is Britain's bill for leaving the bloc.

Gabriel said "it would naturally be best if Britain didn't leave at all".

Currently, Europeans have the right to live, work, study and claim welfare benefits in Britain, as they do anywhere in the 28-nation union.

Three days after the talks begin, May is due to travel to Brussels for an European Union summit - a chance for the other 27 leaders to take stock of their negotiating partner in the sharply altered climate brought about by the dramas of the past two weeks.

But EU officials have warned her off trying to do this at an EU summit this Thursday, saying it is too soon.

David Davis: The Brexit Secretary will lead the negotiations for the United Kingdom and Mrs May will hope he lives up to his reputation as a "charming bastard" - staunchly Eurosceptic but with the ability to win people round to his argument.

She said: "We want to see an administration set up again that will last and one that will last for all of the people of Northern Ireland".

"All the scenarios are on the table, including that of no agreement on March 29, 2019".

The negotiations have been billed as the most complex in Britain's history as it unravels 44 years of membership and its threat to walk out with no deal in place has anxious European capitals.

The arch-federalist former Belgian PM, who this year published a book calling on EU states to forge "a more ideal Union", warned last week Britain could lose its rebate and opt-outs if it changes its mind and decides to stay.

But EU officials are sceptical that May's position has changed, just as they are doubtful about the feasibility of either option.