LONDON — Britain and the European Union insisted Monday that their divorce negotiations remain on track, after the resignation of the U.K.’s top Brexit official shook Prime Minister Theresa May’s fragile grip on power.

May appointed staunchly pro-Brexit lawmaker Dominic Raab as the country’s new Brexit secretary, hours after the late-night resignation of his predecessor David Davis.

Davis said he could not support May’s plan to maintain close trade and regulatory ties with the EU — a proposal agreed by the Cabinet after a marathon meeting Friday. Steve Baker, a junior Brexit minister also resigned.

The resignations dealt yet another blow to the beleaguered leader, just two days after she announced she had finally united her quarrelsome government behind her plan for a divorce deal with the EU.

Less than nine months remain until Britain leaves the bloc on March 29, 2019, and the EU has warned Britain repeatedly that time is running out to seal a divorce deal.

Britain and the EU hope to reach broad agreement by October so that EU national parliaments can ratify a deal before Britain leaves. That timetable looks increasingly optimistic, but European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the EU was available “available 24/7.”

Schinas said the bloc “will continue to negotiate in good will, bona fide, with Prime Minister Theresa May and the U.K. government negotiators in order to reach a deal.”

May’s official spokesman, James Slack, said Britain wanted to “move forward at pace” in the negotiations.

“There is now a new secretary of state and we look forward to moving on,” he said.

During a 12-hour meeting on Friday, May’s fractious Cabinet — including Davis — finally agreed on a plan for future trade ties with the EU.

The plan seeks to keep the U.K. and the EU in a free-trade zone for goods, and commits Britain to maintaining the same …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

      

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