Brexit talks to begin Monday 19 June

Written by Martin Banks on 16 June 2017 in News
News

Negotiations on the UK’s departure from the EU will start on Monday, it has been confirmed.

Article 50 negotiations to start in Brussels on Monday June 19 | Photo credit: Rob Grasso


Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s chief negotiator, and David Davis, secretary of state for exiting the European Union, agreed on Wednesday to launch Article 50 negotiations on Monday, 19 June.

However, some have questioned the legitimacy of commencing talks before the UK government on withdrawal before the official opening of Parliament by the British Queen later next week.

These include the former UK Europe minister Denis Macshane, who told this website, “This Monday David Davis will presumably tell Michel Barnier what so far he has not told Parliament or the British people - namely what the UK wants from these negotiations.


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“The election was a victory for the 48 per cent who rejected amputating the UK from Europe last June. Mrs May manifesto commitment to a hard-line Brexit as set out in the January White Paper was repudiated by the electorate who refused to give her a majority.”

The former Labour government minister said, “The election massively qualifies the referendum. The new House of Commons should meet, debate and give David Davis a new mandate based on a clear Brexit policy as set out in the Queen’s Speech. It is almost guaranteed that there is now no longer a majority for the proposed legislation to transliterate all EU legislation into UK law. David Davis’s trip to Brussels is pointless."

European diplomats and politicians fear the hung parliament after the recent election in the UK and a relatively weak prime minister are a ‘disaster’ that threaten negotiations

Further reaction came from former senior British MP Roger Casale who said he believes Theresa May lacks a mandate to start Brexit talks, at least until the Queen’s speech has been approved.

He said, “In my view, yes she does. The referendum was advisory. The notification to trigger Article 50 is nugatory because no decision by parliament to leave the EU has yet been made.”

Casale, a Labour MP from 1997 to 2005 and founder of New Europeans which campaigns for the rights of EU citizens after Brexit, said,

“This has been argued by Jolyon Maughan QC and others. It is highly plausible in my view that parliament did not include a clause about Britain deciding to leave the EU in the Article 50 Bill. To have done so would have opened the door to a future parliament voting for the UK to stay in the EU.”

Meanwhile, discussions for a ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement between the Conservatives and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) are said to be “progressing well.”

The Press Association cites a source as saying, “Both parties are committed to strengthening the Union, combating terrorism, delivering Brexit and delivering prosperity across the whole country.” However, the Prime Minister is reportedly “confident” of passing the Queen’s speech in the House of Commons even if no deal is reached with the DUP in time.

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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