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

Lance Nichols
June 17, 2017

After voters rejected that request, the Brexit talks start Monday lacking clarity on what the exact nature of the UK's departure from Europe will be.

David Davis, who leads the Department for Exiting the European Union, says in a joint statement Thursday that the decision comes after discussion in Brussels.

May's government has said its Brexit plans remain the same, and her Brexit minister David Davis will be pressing for close economic ties but a clear break with the bloc to be able to control immigration and restore sovereignty over British laws.

THERESA May and the Tories are looking to Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to help them stay in power.

The Conservatives have reached a "broad agreement" with the DUP, a source told AFP on Thursday.

"Everyone fears these talks of a hard border", he said, "but I agree it must be a soft border that will ensure the goods from both countries can move easily between them". And since the election results last week that left Prime Minister Theresa May without a parliamentary majority, that chaos and confusion have intensified.

"And if that wasn't enough, calling an unnecessary general election purely for the self interest of the Conservative Party and having mucked that campaign up they are now putting the country in hock to the DUP".

Some fear the viability of Northern Ireland's fragile peace - which has held since 1998 after decades of inter-community violence known as The Troubles - could rest on the arrangement, with doubts around the United Kingdom government's impartiality.

Senior representatives from Northern Ireland's main political parties met May in London earlier.

"But time is running short and the parties must come together by the 29 June for the return of a strong voice at (Northern Ireland's seat of government) Stormont", she added.

An election in March saw the Protestant, pro-British DUP finish narrowly ahead of Catholic socialists Sinn Fein. As the European Union has itself said, "nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed".

Brexit is a complicating factor in the mix.

Despite this, the DUP insisted it would mainly seek support in economic and Brexit-related matters for Northern Ireland.

Almost a fifth of the UK's food and drink exports go to the Republic of Ireland and in March industry bodies from across the British food and drink sector wrote an open letter to various government departments calling for "frictionless" tariff-free trade with Ireland to continue post-Brexit.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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