Second round of Brexit talks begins as discrepancy and uncertainty clouding negotiations
17:44, Jul 17, 2017
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Negotiators will focus their talks on key issues, with Britain's exit bill as the core.
Brexit hardliners in the Cabinet and on the Tory backbenches are furious with Mr Hammond for championing a two-year transition deal to cushion the impact of leaving the EU. Beyond these headline goals, they will discuss how to ensure a smooth transition on Brexit Day, a set of topics known as "other separation issues" where the ECJ looms large.
Mr Davis is facing strong opposition from the EU over Britain's proposals for rights of European nationals living in the United Kingdom, as well as pressure to accept paying a huge "divorce" bill.
The EU has demonstrated increasing confidence in recent weeks, accusing Britain of dithering over whether it wants a "hard" or "soft" Brexit more than a year after the shock referendum that propelled May to power.
"For us, it's incredibly important we now make good progress", added Mr Davis, who held a first day of talks a month ago to agree an agenda, a year after Britons vote to leave the EU.
At the start of the Brussels talks, Mr Davis - whose allies claim 30 Tory MPs are ready to back him if he runs for the leadership - is expected to call for both sides to get down to business.
After his arrival at the EU's headquarters on Monday morning, the European Commission released pictures of Mr Davis sitting opposite his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, with their respective teams.
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Asked why colleagues are "going for you", he pointed to disputes over Brexit, saying: "Some of the noise is generated by people who are not happy with the agenda that I have". UK's negotiating chief is expected to return to Brussels to wrap up the second round of talks and assess this negotiating week alongside Barnier at the Berlaymont press room.
While we know the issue of the Irish border is high on the agenda for these discussions, the weeks since the last round of talks have seen a number of public clashes between United Kingdom and European Union leaders which are sure to be mentioned this week. European Union officials have put no statute of limitations on potential lawsuits.
Mr Barnier, who has made clear that he is not prepared to start talks on a trade deal until there has been sufficient progress on the financial settlement, retorted icily he could not hear any whistling, "just the clock ticking".
Just two days before the start of the new round of talks, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, in his biggest intervention yet against Brexit, that Britain could remain in the European Union despite its Brexit referendum vote.
On Sunday, the former Tory chair Chris Patten warned that the Brexit deadlock represented one of the bleakest moments in British postwar history.
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