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Boris Johnson looks for "happy" Brexit resolution

19 Juin 2017

Brexit Secretary David Davis leads a nine-strong negotiating team to Brussels today calling for a "deal like no other in history" with greater access to the single market than any of the EU's external trading partners and more freedom for United Kingdom goods and services than Turkey enjoys as a member of the customs
union.

Last June, British voters opted to leave the 28-nation bloc in a referendum.

The question is what do we put in its place in order to deliver the objectives the Prime Minister set out in her Lancaster House speech of having no hard land border in Ireland and enabling British goods to flow freely backwards and forwards across the border with the European Union?

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 majority regard as pure folly.

With Prime Minister Theresa May still working to shore up a deal with a small Northern Irish party to prop up her Conservative government after she lost her parliamentary majority in the June 8 election, Hammond's comments could be a sign that London is easing back its approach to Brexit. Such conversations mark a shift from the pre-election talk of a "hard Brexit" and May's onetime warning she would walk away from the talks if disappointed.

"If we had a strong signal that she were backsliding I think she would be in major difficulty", the newspaper quoted one unidentified former minister as saying. "I think it was a mistake that we didn't spend more time and resources taking apart Jeremy Corbyn's economic proposals and his spending plans, which are frankly incredible and would do enormous damage to this country, to our jobs, to our economy".

Earlier, Mr Hammond told the BBC's Marr programme: "We're leaving the EU and because we are leaving the EU, we will be leaving the single market and by the way, we will be leaving the customs union". Despite signals from both France and Germany last week that Britain would still be welcome to stay if it changed its mind, Brexit minister David Davis insisted on Sunday there would be no turning back. "Everything must go through Barnier", said a third, underlining European Union strategy to keep talks technical for now.

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Ordinary Britons are also beginning to feel the cost of Brexit because of higher import prices caused by a plunge in the pound and businesses are increasingly anxious about losing trade access.

The government is due to present its programme at the opening of parliament on Wednesday, which will be followed by a key confidence vote days later.

Johnson called on people to look at the more distant future. But the government will double the length of the session to let lawmakers debate Britain's approach to Brexit without interruption.

Finance minister Philip Hammond has led calls for a softer strategy on Brexit, prioritising the economy.

However, Mr Davis will tell Monday's meeting at the European Commission's Berlaymont building in Brussels that he is confident of reaching agreement.

We are going to talk about new borders between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

May wants to negotiate the divorce and the future trading relationship with the European Union before Britain leaves in March 2019, followed by what she calls a phased implementation process to give business time to prepare for the impact of the divorce. "A deal like no other in history", Davis said in a statement as he headed into the talks.