Brexit : Britain shifts focus to growth as it girds for talks

Britain's Chancellor Philip Hammond arrives at the Treasury in Whitehall London after Downing Street said that Theresa May is to leave her most senior Cabinet team in place following a disastrous election which left the party short of a majority in parl

British finance minister Philip Hammond said Britain should adopt a pragmatic approach to Brexit negotiations which begin on Monday, striking a different tone to Prime Minister Theresa May who has threatened to leave the European Union without a deal if necessary.

HSBC, which has 43,000 employees in Britain, said in January that it was planning to move "activities covered specifically by European financial regulation" to the EU, which would shift about 1,000 jobs out of the UK.

Divorce talks are set to begin next week as the anniversary of the Brexit vote nears.

"We will negotiate in good faith but it is a negotiation, we recognize there will be an exchange of views and we will take that forward in a spirit of genuine cooperation".

Any deal Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party reaches to prop up British Prime Minister Theresa May must not interfere with devolution in the British province, Ireland's new prime minister said on Friday.

Though on the surface, Thursday's meetings with Northern Irish parties were aimed at breaking the logjam in forming a new cross-party regional government in the province, May needs broader acceptance in the province of a Conservative-DUP deal.

"We never put timescales on when we expect a deal to be done and I'm not going to start now".

Conservatives and the DUP are committed to strengthening British unity, delivering Brexit, combating terrorism and delivering prosperity but "at the moment there isn't a deal", the source said.

Colum Eastwood, leader of the SDLP, Northern Ireland's second-largest Irish nationalist party, said his party had a "positive" meeting with the prime minister over her efforts to come up with a deal with the DUP.

The debate within Britain's government about how to quit the European Union has been blown wide open by an election that left May without a majority in parliament and damaged her authority in the ruling Conservative Party.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain's main opposition, said his Labour Party would not support May's Queen's speech in the lower house of parliament to try to force her out of power through a vote of no-confidence.

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

Mr Hammond's comments are likely to be seen as reflecting a softer approach to Brexit than Mrs May, who has insisted that no deal would be better than a bad deal.

May's government has said its Brexit plans remain the same, and her Brexit minister David Davis will be pressing for close economic ties but a clear break with the bloc to be able to control immigration and restore sovereignty over British laws. "That is why we are pushing ahead with negotiations on Monday". As the European Union has itself said, "nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed".

The Conservatives have 317 MPs while the DUP have 10.

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