Brexit deal will not 'shut down' immigration, vows Chancellor

Brexit deal will not 'shut down' immigration, vows Chancellor

Hours after arriving in Brussels to kick off the first day of the talks on Monday, UK Brexit Secretary David Davis agreed to settle the divorce terms before getting to the details about future relations with the EU.

Representatives for the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the European Union (EU) kicked off Brexit negotiations in Brussels on June 19, nearly 12 weeks after Britain's prime minister triggered the mechanism that would let it depart from the EU.

European Union leaders have said they hope sufficient progress is made on the key divorce issues by the autumn to allow discussions to begin on the future trade and security relationship.

Those were, he said, the rights of expatriate citizens and problems of a new EU-UK border, notably cutting across Ireland.

Prime Minister Theresa May's failure to gain the majority she sought in the June 8 election has forced the government to rethink its focus both on Brexit and austerity. Anxious by immigration and loss of sovereignty, Britain voted past year to end its four-decades-old membership of the 28-country bloc - the first state ever to do so - in a shock referendum result.

"This first session was useful, we start off on the right foot as the clock is ticking", he said during a joint press conference with Mr Davis.

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In a keynote speech to City leaders at Mansion House, Philip Hammond stressed Britain would leave the European Union "in a way that prioritises British jobs and underpins Britain's prosperity".

"We acknowledge that, as Britain leaves the EU, there are genuine and reasonable concerns among our EU colleagues about oversight of financial markets that will then be outside EU jurisdiction".

Hammond also took a shot at his European Union counterparts, suggesting that recent attempts to increase regulation of financial services were a veiled attempt to wrest business away from Britain.

The election had been called by the Conservative Party with the intention of consolidating its hold over United Kingdom politics.

Nearly a year to the day since British voters made a decision to leave the European Union, the Brexit strategy debate within the government has been opened up again by May's unexpected failure to win a parliamentary majority in the June 8 ballot.

When asked whether agreeing to this schedule was a sign of the weakness of Britain's negotiating position, Davis said: "It is not how it starts but how it ends".

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"Before long, we will all begin to find out the extent to which Brexit is a gentle stroll along a smooth path to a land of cake and consumption", he said.

"We are citizens first".

"So we must be clear about ours".

A bigger problem may be for British negotiators to resolve what trade relationship they want.

The two men will meet for a week every month to negotiate, and use the time in between to "work on proposals".

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