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Brexit talks 'get to work' despite United Kingdom infighting

Brexit talks 'get to work' despite United Kingdom infighting

The European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator on Monday threatened to veto a plan by the British government on the status of EU nationals after Britain leaves the bloc, calling it a "damp squib".

European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis attend a first full round of talks on Britain's divorce terms from the European Union, in Brussels, Belgium, July 17, 2017.

Davis and Barnier will face the media on Thursday to present progress on the talks.

Mr Barnier said: "We will now delve into the heart of the matter". "Protecting the rights of all our citizens is the priority for me going into this round, and I'm clear that it's something we must make real progress on".

British Chancellor Philip Hammond accused at least one fellow cabinet minister of leaking details of a cabinet meeting last week.

"We made a good start last month, and this week we'll be getting into the real substance", Davis was quoted by Reuters as saying ahead of the meeting.

More divisions were exposed last Sunday, when Hammond said transitional arrangements for Britain leaving the European Union are likely to last a couple of years, rather than the few months suggested by Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

Mr Davis arrived at the EU Commission's headquarters at around 9.15am and immediately held a joint press conference with Mr Barnier, at which the pair read pre-prepared statements.

And Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson then fanned the flames when he said Brussels could "go whistle" if it expected the United Kingdom to pay a hefty "divorce bill" in respect of its outstanding financial obligations.

Even though May had insisted that the Brexit process can't be reversed, her government will not be able to pursue the firm Brexit line she favored, following an undesired result of the June snap election, in which her party lost majority in the House of Commons.

Brexit secretary David Davis said this morning the two sides would be focusing on four key issues this week: citizens rights, finance, separation issues and Northern Ireland. "This government is facing a ticking clock over the Brexit negotiations", Hammond said on Sunday.

Working groups will focus on three areas: citizens' rights; the EU demand that Britain pays some 60 billion euros ($70 billion) to cover ongoing EU budget commitments; and other loose ends, such as what happens to British goods in EU shops on Brexit Day.