British and European Union negotiators to launch Brexit talks on Monday

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That the British were ready to break negotiations down on the lines of priorities identified by Brussels implied, he said, a willingness to start a first phase of divorce talks before moving on next year to a second phase on the new free trade relationship May wants - a "sequencing" London has disputed.

The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has long argued that the initial talks should center on brokering deals on citizens' rights, money owed by the United Kingdom and the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. "We need trust to build the future relationship".

However, British officials have insisted since the vote that they would stick to the timetable, which would enable May to attend a summit of European Union leaders next Thursday and Friday with the negotiations already under way.

Martin Povejšil, the Czech Republic's ambassador to the European Union, who also sat on the panel, said the European Union was ready to talk.

Former Belgian prime minister Mr Verhofstadt said on Twitter that Brexit "isn't just about the Tories leaving the European Union, it's about the whole UK" adding: "Everyone's voice should be heard".

LONDON/DUBLIN Britain is likely to go into arduous talks on its exit from the European Union without a deal to keep Prime Minister Theresa May in power as negotiations with a Northern Irish "kingmaker" party grind into a second week.

May triggered Article 50 in March, which started the official two-year window during which Britain must negotiate its deal to leave the EU. "However, discussing about the amount of money, here there will be flexibility", he added. Barnier speaks of a willingness to look at various options but EU officials also stress that greater access to EU markets will mean accepting greater costs, closer to EU membership, and question whether Britain can find a political consensus on that.

"It's better to have a hard Brexit that works than to have a fudge in the middle that has to be renegotiated or doesn't politically work and you have uncertainty lingering on", Markus Kerber of the German BDI group - the equivalent of the CBI - recently told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

And these conditions are clear: citizens first, the four freedoms... that are fully integrated in the single market, a fair financial settlement and... the respect for an effective legal framework in this.

Britain's giant banking industry and other business groups see Hammond as their most powerful ally in government and they were anxious when it appeared he might lose his job in the run-up to the election.

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