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Brexit negotiations have not begun well for UK, says former top diplomat

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Brexit negotiations have not begun well for UK, says former top diplomat

 

2017-08-07T101846Z_1_LYNXMPED760LX_RTROPTP_3_BRITAIN-POLITICS.JPG

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall/Files

 

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's negotiations over leaving the European Union have not begun well due to disagreements among Prime Minister Theresa May's team of ministers about the kind of deal they should be seeking, a former top British diplomat said.

 

Simon Fraser, until 2015 the most senior civil servant at Britain's Foreign Office and the head of the UK Diplomatic Service, said the government needed to put forward a clearer position.

 

Since May lost her parliamentary majority in a failed election gamble in June, infighting between members of her cabinet has broken into the open, with disagreements on issues including whether freedom of movement of EU nationals should continue after Britain leaves the bloc in 2019.

 

"The negotiations have only just begun, I don't think they have begun particularly promisingly, frankly, on the British side," said Fraser, who also formerly served as chief of staff to the European Trade Commissioner in Brussels.

 

"We haven't put forward a lot because, as we know, there are differences within the cabinet about the sort of Brexit that we are heading for and until those differences are further resolved I think it's very difficult for us to have a clear position," he told BBC Radio.

 

May's spokesman said the government would "disagree strongly" with Fraser's comments.

 

"The last two months we've had a constructive start to the negotiations, we've covered a significant amount of important ground," he told reporters.

 

In the first full round of Brexit talks last month there was little compromise between British and EU chief negotiators on key disputes including how to protect the rights of expatriate citizens and on settling London's EU "divorce bill".

 

"So far we haven't put much on the table apart from something on the status of nationals, so we are a bit absent from the formal negotiation," said Fraser, who now advises businesses on Brexit.

 

"We need to demonstrate that we are ready to engage on the substance so that people can understand what is really at stake here and what the options are, so let's move forward with that."

 

Media reports say the government is due to publish a series of "position papers" later this week, including its proposals on future customs arrangements with the EU and how to deal with the Northern Irish border.

 

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, additional reporting by William James; editing by Michael Holden)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2017-8-7

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8 minutes ago, Jip99 said:

 

...and Thaksin in Thailand.

 

Folly is an opinion, election results are fact.

So why were you questioning Jonnapat's opinion that the result of the referendum was a folly?

 

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5 hours ago, dunroaming said:

The "folly" was several fold.  Firstly nobody realised just how complicated it would be to leave the EU.  Nobody had bothered to analyse properly what would happen if the vote was to leave as nobody thought for a moment that that was what people would vote for.  So the whole campaign by both sides was based on spin and bullsh*t.  They just made up "facts" as they went along and the people lapped it up.  Johnson, Gove and Co were playing political games to oust Cameron and the referendum was a good way to do it.  It was easier for them because their bull was based on what they said could be achieved if we left the EU.  Empty promises indeed.

 

Now the reality kicks in and after May stupidly said the ridiculous statement that "Brexit means Brexit" when she and everyone else had no idea what Brexit meant at all.  What should now be a straightforward negotiated divorce (that is if you believed the Brexit rhetoric) is turning into a complete farce with all those politicians in charge scrabbling around trying save their own bacon.  Of course the main campaigner for Brexit is keeping his head down and hiding away.  Never has the British government looked so stupid! 

So the people who voted out were fools? Must have been the same ones who weren't permitted a vote to go in. Into the EEC, that is; not the EC, not the EU.

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18 minutes ago, Jonmarleesco said:

So the people who voted out were fools? Must have been the same ones who weren't permitted a vote to go in. Into the EEC, that is; not the EC, not the EU.

We were all fools to believe the rhetoric from both sides.  If there was proper analysis of the consequences and that was presented honestly and then the vote was to leave then fair enough, it would have been the right choice.  But it wasn't the facts or even the truth we were told and the result was based on lies.  Maybe you feel that was fair enough, but I don't.

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BANGKOK 17 October 2017 13:07
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