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Real Brexit talks will start only after June elections

21 Avril 2017

"Brexit isn't just about the letter that says we want to leave".

"The Prime Minister talks about a strong economy, but the truth is most people are worse off than they were when the Conservatives came to power seven years ago".

The European Union, meanwhile, said it will stick to a timetable for preparing to launch Brexit negotiations with the United Kingdom despite the early general election.

Earlier, Mr Corbyn dismissed Mrs May's argument that she needs a fresh mandate to deliver Brexit, and said it was "extremely interesting" that she had chosen to call an election as the Crown Prosecution Service prepares to decide whether to press charges against a string of Tory MPs over allegations relating to 2015 general election expenses.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has signalled its MPs will abstain in the vote and Labour and the Liberal Democrats, while accusing May of political opportunism, have welcomed the prospect of an early election.

In a surprise U-turn, May called Tuesday for a general election as she tries to make strong gains against the opposition before the tough Brexit negotiations.

The result easily surpasses the two-thirds majority of the 650 lawmakers needed to trigger an early vote.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the election "gives the British people the chance to vote for a Labour government that will put the interests of the majority first".

If MPs approve the election, parliament would hold its last session on May 2 and the campaign would begin in earnest.

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By contrast Labour is wracked by divisions, over Brexit and Corbyn's left-wing leadership, which is opposed by many of his more centrist MPs.

"She expects a coronation and not a contest", Farron said, urging voters to back his strongly pro-EU party to stop a Conservative landslide. "It's about. getting the right deal from Europe".

May, Britain's second female prime minister, also has strong popular support for her handling of the political natural disaster unleashed by Brexit.

"The UK elections do not change our EU27 plans", Preben Aamann, a spokesperson for European Council President Donald Tusk, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Commission spokesman said "real political negotiations" on Brexit would not start until after the vote.

Britain's next national election is now scheduled for 2020, a year after the scheduled completion of two years of European Union exit talks.

"Following their conversation, the president considers that the real political negotiations on Article 50 with the United Kingdom will start after the elections foreseen for the 8th of June", the spokesman said, referring to the European Union treaty rule that regulates the exit of a member state from the bloc.

They said ministers from those member states are then scheduled to meet on May 22 to formally issue detailed directives for the negotiations to be led by Michel Barnier, who previously held high-level French government positions.