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European Union sources: United Kingdom to agree Brexit divorce bill before trade talks

18 Juin 2017

The party claims that a government that has a Parliamentary deal with the Loyalist DUP may not be an honest broker in dealing with power sharing in Northern Ireland. The queen's speech, which lays out the government's program, has been delayed until Wednesday.

Britain could lose its budget rebate and opt-outs if it changes its mind about Brexit and decides to remain a member of the European Union, an influential MEP has suggested. However, a weaker post-election Tory government has been forced to re-think its stance. That's raised speculation that she will seek a softer Brexit by trying to win continued access to Britain's biggest market.

The Conservative source said this meant the party was "confident" it had enough votes for the programme to be approved, after May suffered a disastrous setback in snap elections a week ago that saw her lose her majority in the 650-seat House of Commons, just ahead of crucial Brexit negotiations with Brussels.

Brexit secretary David Davis is reportedly planning to make a "very generous" offer on post-Brexit rights for the three million European Union citizens who live in the UK.

Theresa May has vowed to control immigration from Europe after Brexit.

The positive outcome would mean the United Kingdom continues to have access to the single market and encourage freedom of movement in some form, but on the downside would give Britain limited opportunity to shape its own rules. A spokesperson for the U.K.'s Brexit department said it expected both phases of the negotiations "to be agreed alongside each other", but did not deny that the talks would focus initially on divorce issues, including agreeing the U.K.'s financial obligations.

The agreed schedule will let May make a presentation over dinner of how she sees her Brexit plans.

Diplomats played down the prospects for one day of talks. Both sides have expressed their desire to avoid the return of a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland. Her Conservative Party called such an arrangement "necessary" in its election manifesto.

The comments at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Luxembourg come amid reports of divisions between Mr Hammond and Theresa May over the UK's strategy for leaving the European Union.

Former first minister Arlene Foster has said the discussions are "going well" and that she hopes for a "successful conclusion" soon.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit coordinator, said that Brexit can be halted, but if Britain reversed course it should not expect to keep getting its EU budget rebates or opt-outs from key EU rules.

Divisions over Europe helped sink the premierships of May's predecessors Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Cameron, and many of her lawmakers and party members favour a sharp break with the EU.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has called on the European Union to issue a sweeping, reciprocal guarantee of rights for British expatriates living in the European Union after Brexit.

Sinn Fein says the DUP deal could undermine the Good Friday agreement.

The Conservatives have 317 MPs while the DUP have 10.

European Union sources: United Kingdom to agree Brexit divorce bill before trade talks