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Brexit : Britain eyes deal 'like no other in history'

19 June 2017

Chancellor Philip Hammond, who is regarded as a "soft Brexiteer", said on Sunday that the United Kingdom would definitely leave both the single market and the customs union, but said it made sense to put transitional arrangements in place to lessen the immediate impact on businesses.

Instead of gaining an increased majority, the Conservative Party lost seats and ended up as the largest party in a hung parliament, becoming dependent to govern on a hastily cobbled-together supply and confidence arrangement with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party- hardly an ideal scenario with the important formal Brexit negotiations with the European Union set to begin next week.

Commission sources accept as much, but believe that issues relating to the free movement of people and Common Travel Area, and to the preservation of EU-related elements of the Belfast Agreement may be advanced. She has really hacked off the parliamentary party for obvious reasons.

"It's not about hard or soft [Brexit], it's about open or closed, and I stand firmly on the side of open, and will always advocate that", she said.

The newspaper quoted another former minister as saying: 'If she weakened on Brexit, the world would fall in. all hell would break loose'.

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It will test the ingenuity of thousands of public servants racing against the clock to untangle 44 years of European Union membership before Britain is out, 649 days from now, on March 30, 2019.

The start of negotiations on Monday was dismissed by one European Union diplomat as further "talks about talks", rather than anything substantive. In a tweet yesterday afternoon, he said: "Back this weekend in my countryside, Savoie, to draw the strength and energy that the long hike requires".

The EU's chief negotiator, France's Michel Barnier, welcomed his counterpart David Davis with a handshake and smiles for the press in the European Commission's landmark headquarters in central Brussels flanked by the EU and British flags.

With discontent in europhile Scotland and troubled Northern Ireland, which faces a new European Union border across the divided island, Brexit poses new threats to the integrity of the United Kingdom. Such firms sold 7.3 billion euros ($8.2 billion) worth of goods to customers in Britain a year ago, their fourth-biggest market.

Some Conservatives have called for a more inclusive approach that would include opposition parties as well as stronger voices from Scotland and Northern Ireland, where a majority of voters backed Britain to stay in the EU.

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However, Brexit secretary David Davis who will lead the talks was buoyant about the talks and called for a "deal like no other in history".

"We will build the broadest possible consensus for our Brexit plans and that means giving Parliament the maximum amount of time to scrutinize these bills by holding a two-year session of Parliament", she said.

Brexit Secretary Davis, noting shared security threats for governments across Europe hours after a van rammed worshippers at a London mosque, said: "There is more that unites us than divides us".

Britain seems to have tacitly accepted the EU's plan for sequenced talks, which will focus first on the terms of Britain's withdrawal, with negotiations on a future relationship and trade deal coming later.

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