May suggests free movement could continue during Brexit implementation

Paul Nuttall

And Britain's divorce deal and payout to the European Union must be agreed before trade talks begin.

Theresa May said there would be an "implementation" phase once a deal had been struck, with business and governments needing a "period of time" to adjust to the new rules.

"With the United Kingdom also remaining a full and engaged member of the EU for the next two years, the PM and Donald Tusk also discussed the agenda for the next EU Council meeting".

The Strasbourg-based Parliament is the first European Union institution to formalise its stance on the Brexit talks, passing the resolution by 516 votes for, 133 against and 50 abstentions.

He said: "The ever-charming Mr Verhofstadt, the parliament's chief negotiator, tells us that we can not discuss potential trade deals with anybody else in the world until we've left the European Union".

The row came as the Parliament heard a string of senior MEPs insist that Britain can not enjoy "the same or better conditions" in its relations with the European Union as full member states after Brexit. "To achieve this, we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU", Theresa May wrote in her letter to Tusk.

"People can not end up being simply a negotiating chip", said European Commission Chief Jean-Claude Juncker.


European Parliament has backed a "red lines" resolution on how Brexit negotiations should be handled, warning Britain against engaging in bilateral talks or trade agreements until it officially exits the EU.

"The best interests of both sides of this negotiation will be served by getting on to the technical discussion about the future relationship as quickly as possible in the two years that we have available", Walker said.

The Parliament is likely to hold a vote on any final Brexit deal at the end of 2018 or in early 2019.

Full negotiations are expected to start in late May once the negotiating guidelines of the EU's 27 remaining nations have been sealed in a mandate for the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said he was "greatly encouraged" that the resolution contains a "very strong acknowledgement" of Ireland's unique concerns on Brexit.

Besides Gibraltar, Brexit champion Nigel Farage compared the European Union to the "mafia" that was taking Britain "hostage" by demanding a multibillion-euro exit bill. They said it would be ready for the day we leave, along with new trade deals with other countries.

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