Britain, EU fail to agree Brexit talks start date

British Prime Minister Theresa May

Since the election, her re-appointed Brexit Secretary David Davis, who told Sky News that the negotiation start date may have to be delayed, has said that the "no deal better than bad deal" slogan still stands but said that the government would listen to those calling for a softer Brexit.

On Sunday, Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell told ITV's Peston show that it was "not feasible" to remain part of the single market and leave the EU.

He added: "That being said, a sovereign decision was taken by the British people and that is to come out of the European Union and I very much respect the decisions taken by the people, be it by the French people or the British people".

"Obviously it's not great that things are being delayed", an European Union source said on condition of anonymity, adding that Brussels officials had been "glued to their TV screens and Twitter" for the British election results.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has warned London not to waste time, as Brussels waits for embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May to name a date for talks.

"The EU stands ready to begin negotiations". "The European citizens in the United Kingdom, we want to get on with as fast as possible because we don't want people to be in a state of anxiety".

Mr Verhofstadt urged the European Union to bring forward legislative proposals for closer integration of the remaining 27 member states, to take advantage of the opportunity provided by Brexit and the election of the pro-European Mr Macron.

"Next week, it will be three months after the sending of the Article 50 letter", Mr Barnier said, referencing the UK's formal withdrawal notification letter.

The Brexit negotiator asked London not to "waste time" and explained that it will take "several months to draw out the conditions of an orderly withdrawal, with hard and sensitive points of discussion".

"We are fully prepared and ready for negotiations to start", commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein told reporters. "Frankly, we have seen enough of it".

"She is fine, she is getting on the with the job", Davis said when asked how May was.

Mr Verhofstadt said he was speaking on "the 30th birthday of the Erasmus programme", the EU's student exchange programme - which is threatened by Brexit.

Barnier's interview will heap yet more pressure on May, who called a snap general election to give her a stronger hand at the Brexit negotiating table.

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