UK's Hammond says economy should be priority in Brexit talks

May's strategy was thrown into confusion by last week's election in which she squandered her Conservative Party's parliamentary majority. Despite this, Brexit negotiations are now scheduled to begin on May 19.

Brussels insists that those living in Britain now should be able to keep those rights after Brexit.

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier and the UK's Brexit minister David Davis will meet on Monday (19 June) for the first round of negotiations on the United Kingdom leaving the EU, nearly a year after a majority of British voters decided in a referendum to quit the club.

But he added: "It's a statement of common sense that if we are going to radically change the way we work together, we need to get there via a slope, not a cliff edge".

And the source told the BBC that it was understood the talks would broadly follow the EU's preferred sequence, dealing with issues of citizens' rights and a framework for calculating outstanding financial liabilities before moving on, possibly later in the year, to deal with the UK's future relationship with the EU. There must be unanimous agreement by the EU's 27 other members for that to happen and officials have said that's only likely to come in October at the earliest.

Adding to what Queen Elizabeth II called the "sombre national mood" have been three terrorist attacks in three months and a fire in a London tower block in which 58 people are presumed dead.

"These talks will be hard at points, but we shall be approaching them in a constructive and respectful way". "I suppose it isn't quite a strong and stable Brexit yet".

Britain and the European Union now have less than two years to conclude exit negotiations before the UK's departure date at the end of March 2019.

Britain voted by 52 percent in favor of leaving the European Union in a 2016 referendum. Amid such upheaval, though, there is little agreement on what kind of Brexit May should try for - even assuming she can hold onto her job.

The Brexit Department said in a statement that the UK's withdrawal and future ties are "intimately linked".

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has written to Mr Davis urging him to "reset" the Government's "belligerent and reckless" approach to leaving the European Union, warning that Theresa May's "inflexible" stance makes a good deal for Britain less likely. Opponents describe that as a "hard Brexit".

"But what we are trying to get is tariff free access to the single market".

The talks also gave her the opportunity to try to reassure the other parties that a tie-up with the DUP would not compromise Britain's impartiality in the delicate Northern Ireland peace process.

"My clear view, and I believe the view of the majority of people in Britain, is that we should prioritize protecting jobs, protecting economic growth, protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward", Hammond said.

A Whitehall source said last night: "This is a clear sign that the Commission has caved in to our highly determined negotiators who have been supported throughout by the Irish".

"Under "soft" Brexit, HSBC believes that such relative advantage would be diluted".

An EU-UK trade deal is far from plain sailing, however, with Brussels warning it could take up to seven years after Brexit to agree on one.

Britain's financial obligations are expected to amount to at least $64 billion, and could go over $100 million, although London has suggested it will not pay that much.

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