Next round of Brexit talks delayed by a week, Government confirms
The next round of Brexit talks have been delayed by a week, it has been confirmed.
Negotiators from the EU and Britain had been expected to re-start their discussions on 18 September.
But it has emerged that both sides have agreed that they should take place on 25 September instead.
The move comes a week after Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's top negotiator, predicted the talks would be postponed by an "important intervention" by Theresa May.
It is understood he was referring to a major Brexit speech the Prime Minister will make on or around 21 September.
A Government source told PoliticsHome the delay would allow both sides more time to prepare for the next round of negotiations and was "not incompatible" with Mrs May's desire to "intensify" the discussions.
"It also allows Michel Barnier to do more talking with the 27 other member states and come back with a more flexible approach," the source said.
In the wake of Mr Verhofstadt's intervention last week, an EU source told PoliticsHome: "Rumours here [are] that she is planning a major speech on or around the 21st. If so – the talks could be delayed by a few days."
The negotiations have become bogged down over the size of the so-called 'divorce bill' the UK will have to pay when it leaves the EU.
Brussels insists that significant progress must be made on that issue - as well as on the Irish border and EU citizens' rights - before negotiations can move on to the UK's future trading relationship with the EU.
A Government spokesman said: "The UK and the European Commission have today jointly agreed to start the 4th round of negotiations on September 25.
"Both sides settled on the date after discussions between senior officials in recognition that more time for consultation would give negotiators the flexibility to make progress in the September round."