Britain, EU to begin Brexit negotiations on Monday

The Conservative source said this meant the party was "confident" it had enough votes for the programme to be approved, after May suffered a disastrous setback in snap elections a week ago that saw her lose her majority in the 650-seat House of Commons, just ahead of crucial Brexit negotiations with Brussels.

May has given no indication she will change course on the key elements of Brexit; but whatever her plan she will be heavily reliant upon the 10 lawmakers from the eurosceptic DUP, who would help her edge past the 326 votes needed in parliament to avoid the government collapsing.

"So I think it is very much doable to have a deal by the end of this month", she concluded.

While May has repeatedly said she wants a special and deep partnership with the club Britain joined in 1973, she has also laced her assurances with threats that a breakdown of talks could harm security cooperation.

A source in May's Conservative Party said talks continued on Friday.

The DUP and Sinn Fein are taking part in Thursday's talks at Downing Street, along with smaller parties.

"I want us to have a good working relationship so that from his jurisdiction and my jurisdiction we can work together for the good of all our people", she added.

"The issues that have to be dealt with have been talked about now for quite a period of time", she said.

Speaking as he arrived for a meeting of European Union finance ministers in Luxembourg, he said: "As we go into that negotiation, my clear view - and I believe the view of the majority of people in Britain - is that we should prioritise protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward".

"We know each other and we understand each other", she said.

The Prime Minister has insisted the United Kingdom will leave the single market, replace customs union membership with a new deal and end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Prime Minister Theresa May in March formally notified the European Union of its intention to leave, starting a two-year timetable for negotiating the exit.

In his first public comments since the election, the Chancellor said it was his "clear view" that most people want the talks to "prioritise protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity".

"We believe that the withdrawal process can not be concluded without the future relationship also being taken into account", the spokesman said.

The senior official at the Department for Exiting the European Union, Olly Robbins, has been in Brussels this week for preliminary talks.

But after a generation of discord over Europe inside her party, May's future could depend on her ability to please both the eurosceptic and pro-European factions in her party.

  • Eleanor Harrison