Brexit talks stall as British cabinet feuds

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |   July 17, 2017 at 10:07 AM
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July 17 (UPI) -- Talks regarding Britain's exit from the European Union resumed, and Britain's prime minister warned her feuding cabinet to stop its infighting.

David Davis, the Britain's Brexit secretary, began four days of talks with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on Monday, but flew home to London after only three hours of negotiation. Matters regarding Britain's departure from the economic bloc will be handled by subordinates until Davis returns on Thursday.

Prior to his departure, Davis said it was important to now "get into the substance of the matter," and acknowledgement that little was accomplished during the opening of negotiations in June.

Davis is attempting to accelerate a dialogue between himself and Barnier, open divisions in British Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet make it difficult to determine the British course of action, Bloomberg News said Monday. The EU has publicized its preferred agenda, which includes the settlement of issues including citizens' rights and financial obligations, before discussions turn to trade agreements.

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'.

British Chancellor Philip Hammond accused at least one fellow cabinet minister of leaking details of a cabinet meeting last week. He said the leak undermined his plan to make the future of the British economy the central focus of the Brexit talks, ahead of Britain-EU immigration policies. Hammond also said, according to leaks, that public sector workers in Britain were overpaid.

May is expected to advise her cabinet, in a meeting Monday, to try to reduce tensions within her government.

Former cabinet minister David Mellor, who served under former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, commented on the perceived lack of strong leadership within May's government, telling the London Evening Standard, "If any minister had spoken out of turn, Margaret Thatcher would have been down on them like a ton of bricks." Regarding leadership, he added, "You get exactly the anarchy that you have got."

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