German minister sees hope of 'soft' Brexit, with conditions

Corbyn urges Government to take over empty homes for Grenfell fire victims

Ms May's election debacle has revived feuding over Europe among Conservatives that her predecessor David Cameron hoped to end by calling the referendum and leaves European Union leaders unclear on her plan for a "global Britain" which a lot of them regard as pure folly.

The shock outcome of the June 8 election saw PM Theresa May lose her parliamentary majority, sparking speculation the Tories may be forced to soften their hard-line Brexit stance.

After a tumultuous week that pitched Britain into its deepest political crisis since the Brexit referendum a year ago, May's future was uncertain, darkened by her botched gamble on a snap election and muted response to a deadly fire in London. Back then, Prime Minister Theresa May was still talking as though Britain held all the cards.

After nearly a year of waffling, Britain on Monday finally opens negotiations with its European Union counterparts about leaving the bloc, with the final outcome, due in 2019, as important as it now seems unpredictable. "Now, the hard work begins. We need to be growing that pie, and that's a shared job between business and government".

While Britain has struggled to agree on and present a coherent list of demands, the 27 European Union nations have had one message all along - in the words of Barnier on Monday: "We must first tackle the uncertainties caused by Brexit". Officials on both sides have until March 2019 to work out a deal, after which Britain will official exit the EU.

When will Britain leave the EU?

The EU's executive Commission said in a statement Friday that the first round of negotiations in Brussels will be part of a "sequenced approach to the talks".

With May still hammering out the details of a post-election deal to stay in power with the support of a small Northern Irish party, there are fears of a disorderly exit that would weaken the West, imperil Britain's $2.5 trillion economy and undermine London's position as the only financial centre to rival NY.

May spent Thursday in talks with each of the five main political parties from Northern Ireland, including the DUP, aimed at getting a power-sharing executive running in the province before a June 29 deadline. "What can you say of meaning about such chaos?" the diplomat asked.

It is thought that Hammond was the strongest advocate of a so-called "Soft Brexit" option in the Government.

"The best way we can spend this week is to rebuild trust", another European source said. But the turmoil of the euro zone crisis, fears in Britain about immigration and a series of miscalculations by former Prime Minister David Cameron prompted Britain to vote by 52 to 48 percent for Brexit in a June 23 referendum previous year.

But European Council president Donald Tusk and other senior EU officials have consistently ruled out parallel talks.

"With the Brexit negotiations starting this week, there is still little clarity on the immigration system that the United Kingdom will adopt after Brexit". The Survation poll also said that only 27% want Britain to leave the EU's customs union. Opponents describe that as a "hard Brexit". The combination of single-market membership and free movement would be particularly popular with the large cohort of young people who turned out to vote last week for the first time and who consider the ability to live, work, or study anywhere in Europe a major benefit of European Union membership, not a cost.

While European leaders try to gauge what to expect from Britain, May is so weakened that her own finance minister and the partners on whom she will rely for her majority, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, are giving her public guidance.

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