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Brexit : Britain says talks to start Monday

17 June 2017

Almost a year to the day since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, the process of Brexit finally begins on Monday.

Prime Minister Theresa May wants to negotiate the divorce and the future trading relationship with the European Union before Britain leaves in March 2019, followed by what she calls a phased implementation process to give business time to prepare for the impact of Brexit.

The Prime Minister has insisted the United Kingdom will leave the single market, replace customs union membership with a new deal and end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

In a joint press meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace, May stressed that the "timetable has not changed and negotiations will begin next week", dismissing fears of a possible delay in Brexit talks after she lost parliamentary majority in a snap general election.

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The UK government's Brexit Secretary David Davis and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, agreed on Thursday that official divorce talks will begin Monday, June 19. As the European Union has itself said, "nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed".

Conservatives and the DUP are committed to strengthening British unity, delivering Brexit, combating terrorism and delivering prosperity but "at the moment there isn't a deal", the source said.

May will also be reliant upon the 10 lawmakers from the Eurosceptic DUP, who would help her edge past the 326 votes needed in parliament to avoid the government collapsing.

May is set to meet with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland on Tuesday to cobble together a deal to ensure her minority government can get its Queen's Speech through Parliament.

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"The risk is that Northern Ireland continues to fail to find solutions, and potentially the peace process unwinds", Simon Usherwood, senior politics lecturer at Surrey University, told AFP.

Instead, the shock outcome has left May weakened among her Conservative Party and thrown open her Brexit strategy to criticism from peers, some of whom want to ditch the current plan to leave the European Union single market and customs union. "It is the only way to unite the country and strengthen our bargaining power with the European Union".

An election in March saw the Protestant, pro-British DUP finish narrowly ahead of Catholic socialists Sinn Fein.

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