EU, UK fix date to begin Brexit negotiations

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

After touring the wrecked and fire-blackened apartment block and ordering an inquiry, May returned to talks to try to seal a deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to secure the backing of their 10 lawmakers in parliament to help her pass laws and govern as Britain starts talks to leave the EU.

Brexit talks in Brussels on Monday will focus on the status of expats, the UK's "divorce bill" and the Northern Ireland border, rather than on future trade relations with the European Union, it has been confirmed.

Mr Hammond is expected to reinforce his message when he appears on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 tomorrow morning, and then his delayed Mansion House speech on Monday.

Since May's Conservative Party failed to win a majority in last week's general election, there has been a lot of debate over the impact on the Brexit discussions and whether the British government will be more open to compromising on some issues, like trade.

"I will be speaking to her about a renewed commitment by the two governments to work together to ensure that the (Northern Ireland) executive is established before June 29", Leo Varadkar told national broadcaster RTE on Friday, in reference to the deadline to restore the power-sharing regional government. "We want to end the anxiety facing 4 million citizens".

Still trying to shore up her authority after last week's election calamity injected new uncertainty into Britain's path to leaving the European Union, May is sending her Brexit Secretary David Davis to Brussels on Monday to launch the process with EU negotiator Michel Barnier.

DUP leader Arlene Foster insisted that any deal with the Conservatives would not undermine the province's peace accords.

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Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said: "The Conservatives can not go from weak and wobbly to business as usual in three days".

London-based banking giant HSBC said Friday that it would keep more jobs in Britain depending on the government's approach to Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats, the fourth-biggest group in the British parliament, urged May to form a cross-party committee to negotiate Brexit.

"Depending on a hard or soft Brexit, that number might be slightly less than that, so it's going to be updated all the time", its United Kingdom chief executive Ian Stuart told BBC television.

"We know each other and we understand each other", she said.

He wouldn't be drawn on whether he supported Britain's continued membership of the single market or the customs union.

"And actually, getting over the fence, there might be some fresh grass out there".


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