Second round of Brexit talks to get under way

Brexit Minister David Davis meets with European Union Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier

Brexit minister David Davis met Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, to try to push through a deal ahead of Britain's withdrawal from the bloc, scheduled for March 2019.

Discussions on the politically charged issue of the Irish border issue will be led by Sabine Weyand, Barnier's deputy, and Olly Robbins, permanent secretary of the department for exiting the EU.

Davis and Barnier spent only a half-hour in negotiations Monday, and photographs from the talks featured bulging files of papers on Barnier's side of the table and little evidence on Davis'. The meeting marked the start of the second round of talks over the UK's departure from the EU.

Davis is also now echoing Barnier's refrain that the time left to get a deal is slipping away and common ground must be found swiftly. "The clock is ticking", he said once again last Wednesday. The EU has said it will only allow talks on a future relationship once there's "sufficient progress" on citizens' rights and the U.K.'s financial obligations.

"We will work with the European Union to determine a fair settlement of the UK's rights and obligations as a departing member state", the statement added.

"I don't have a problem with the transition period as long as is time-limited", Fox, who supported leaving the European Union at last year's referendum, told BBC TV.

The first week-long round of negotiations over the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, which begins in Brussels today, will focus on the rights of British and European citizens.

A year after the majority of British voters chose to leave the bloc, there is no more certainty about what Brexit is going to look like, other than it being messy.

He pointed to four categories where they needed to make progress on: "The issue of citizens' rights, the issue of finance, of separation and of course, separately, Northern Ireland".

Monday's talks, however, come amid signs of increasingly serious splits within the United Kingdom government over the preferred approach to the talks, with the chancellor, Philip Hammond, complaining on Sunday that he was being briefed against by fellow ministers opposed to his pro-business focus.

But the meeting takes place against a backdrop of increasingly bitter and public feuding among Theresa May's ministers over the Government's Brexit strategy.

"It's absolutely clear that businesses, where they have discretion over investment, where they can hold off, are doing so", Hammond said Sunday on BBC Television's "Andrew Marr Show".

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