United Kingdom minister says Britain will leave EU customs union after Brexit

The EU's negotiator Michel Barnier dismissed the suggestion of postponing the negotiations and said such a delay would only prompt further instability.

In an interview with a group of European newspapers, Barnier lamented that it was already three months since May had formally triggered the two-year process of Britain leaving the EU.

May needs the support of the DUP to govern, after a disastrous election result in which she lost her parliamentary majority.

"I think there is a unity of objective among people in the United Kingdom", May said following a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.

But since coming to power three weeks after the shock vote to leave the European Union, the prime minister has advocated a hard Brexit, which would entail Britain leaving the single market and cutting immigration from the bloc.

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The arrangements under discussion include dates and the sequencing of talks - the European Union wants four-week cycles of negotiations, each covering one topic - once they do actually get started.

"We would restore faith in politics if we could show that this parliament can at least function in presenting a view in the national interest which would command a majority on a cross-party basis", said veteran pro-European Conservative lawmaker Ken Clarke.

Brexit minister David Davis has insisted the approach to the European Union divorce has not changed, but May has recognized that a broader consensus needs to be built for Brexit and has made clear she would listen to all wings of the party on the issue.

Ahead of the start of talks Michael Gove, agriculture and environment minster, said aligning with Arlene Foster's DUP was aimed at "strengthening" the UK.

Divisions over Europe helped sink the premierships of May's predecessors Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Cameron, and many of her lawmakers and party members favor a sharp break with the EU.

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Among topics that need to be agreed upon is the status of United Kingdom citizens living and working in the EU, as well as that of European nationals doing the same in Britain.

"I got us into this mess, and I'm going to get us out", she told her Conservative MPs.

The prospect of a deal has caused consternation in Dublin, with Irish premier Enda Kenny warning such an alliance could upset Northern Ireland's fragile peace.

She is now seeking an alliance with a hardline unionist party in Northern Ireland to cling on to power.

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