Philip Hammond: UK must be pragmatic in Brexit talks

  • Philip Hammond: UK must be pragmatic in Brexit talks

Philip Hammond: UK must be pragmatic in Brexit talks

Nearly a year after Britain voted to leave its biggest market, the start of talks comes and amid signs the softening its approach to the split and adopting a more conciliatory tone.

"We've set out the broad principles from where we will start the negotiation and we will negotiate in good faith, but it is a negotiation and we recognize there will be an exchange of views and we will take that forward in a spirit of genuine cooperation", Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond told reporters in Luxembourg on Friday.

Theresa May's failure to win a majority at the General Election has led to suggestions her Brexit plan to leave the EU's Single Market and Customs Union could be altered, while rival parties have demanded involvement in exit talks following the inconclusive result.

Hammond is widely perceived to be a moderate and his call to prioritise the economy will be interpreted in London as a call for close links and appeased relations with the European Union after Brexit.

David Davis, the UK's Brexit secretary, and Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, will dominate headlines - here's a guide to all the people who will play a part in the discussions.

May has clung on to power since the election but has so far failed to strike an agreement with Northern Ireland's ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party that would allow her to govern.

The first round of Brexit talks will begin two days before a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels on 22 and 23 June.

The UK Government wants the talks to take place in parallel during the Brexit process but both sides have made finding a solution to the issue of citizens' rights a priority.

Prime Minister Theresa May has been struggling to put together a working government since the Conservative Party lost its majority in the June 8 election.

In his Mansion House speech, Hammond was expected to make the case for a so-called "soft" Brexit, which prioritizes economic considerations over the more "hard" Brexit approach, which focuses more on limiting immigration and restoring sovereignty.

Britain's Brexit ministry said on Friday that no deal could be struck on exiting unless the future relationship with the bloc was taken into account. "The withdrawal and future are intimately linked".

"We believe that the withdrawal process can not be concluded without the future relationship also being taken into account".

Following talks in Dublin with the new Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, she said that reaching a "sensible" Brexit had been the focus of their talks.