Brexit negotiations to start on Monday, Government confirms
The UK will begin negotiating the terms of its departure from the European Union this Monday, the Government has confirmed.
Officials from the UK and Brussels agreed this morning that the formal talks will go ahead as planned.
Doubts had been raised about whether talks could start at a time when the Conservatives are still trying to thrash out a deal with the DUP to prop up a minority administration.
However, in a joint statement released by the Department for Exiting the European Union, officials said: “David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Michel Barnier, the European Commission's Chief Negotiator, agreed today to launch Article 50 negotiations on Monday, 19 June.”
Mr Davis had suggested earlier this week that negotiations may not get underway until after the Queen’s Speech, which will take place next Wednesday.
“It may not be on the Monday because we have also got the Queen’s Speech that week and I will have to speak in that and so on,” he said.
Theresa May had repeated several times in the election campaign that formal talks would start 11 days after the general election.
Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael questioned whether the Government would be in a state to start talks so quickly.
“The Conservatives cannot go from weak and wobbly to business as usual in three days. It does not wash,” he said.
“If the government cannot even secure a deal with the DUP, how on earth can they get a deal with the EU?
“Theresa May must immediately create a cross-party joint cabinet committee to negotiate Brexit. It is the only way to unite the country and strengthen our bargaining power with the EU.”
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