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Brexit: UK and European Union negotiations to start on Monday

Brexit: UK and European Union negotiations to start on Monday

British Prime Minister Theresa May sits with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as she holds the first Cabinet meeting of her new team inside 10 Downing Street, in London, Monday June 12, 2017.

Days after a crushing electoral result showed May had lost her parliamentary majority, the premier is due to meet with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party in a bid to gain the support of their 10 MPs.

"I can't say when it's going to be, but there is going to be such a referendum".

With formal European Union divorce talks due next week, May heads to France on Tuesday, possibly to bask in the popularity of Emmanuel Macron, who last month swept to victory in a presidential contest.

Despite the uncertainty over her ability to govern, May had confirmed that Brexit negotiations - expected to be the most complex worldwide talks Britain has held for decades - would begin as planned next week. "And the danger is that however much any government tries, they will not be seen to be impartial if they are locked into a parliamentary deal at Westminster with one of the Northern Ireland parties", he told the BBC's World at One.

Former British Prime Minister John Major said he was concerned May's plan to govern with the support of the DUP could pitch the province back into turmoil by persuading "hard men" on both sides of the divide to return to violence.

In the briefing they said the prospect of an agreement between the Conservative Party and the DUP was causing "anxiety and fear" over fears that any deal agreed on would affect issues relating to Northern Ireland.

The DUP are deeply euroskeptic, but they have balked at some of the practical implications of a hard Brexit - including a potential loss of a "frictionless border" with the Republic of Ireland.

The Irish republican Sinn Fein party - which won seven seats in the election although MPs traditionally do not take up their seats in protest - is also wary of the alliance. "There's a lot of anxiety", Sinn Fein MP Michelle Glidernew told AFP.




Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, is clearly running low on patience.

"It's passing quicker than anyone believes..."

Ahead of the start of talks Michael Gove, agriculture and environment minster, said aligning with Arlene Foster's DUP was aimed at "strengthening" the UK.

"I can't negotiate by myself", he added.

With the two-year clock on Brexit ticking since March, when a letter from May formally started proceedings, Barnier dismissed the suggestion of postponing the negotiations and said such a delay would only prompt further instability.

"We are impatiently waiting for the negotiating position of the United Kingdom gov (ernment). The current uncertainty can not continue", Verhofstadt said on Twitter.

George Bridges, another Brexit minister, quit the department, the Times of London reported, leaving Brexit secretary David Davis with a new team just a week before negotiations with the European Union are due to start.

Despite her own party leanings, Morgan did lob an assessment that gained universal approval Monday evening: "Politics in this country", she said, "seem to get more and more interesting". George Freeman, the MP who chairs the Conservative Policy Forum, suggested that ministers need to take a "less ideological" approach to Brexit following last week's election.


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