Liam Fox warns that Cabinet leaks could hurt UK Brexit talks

Brexit negotiations resumed in Brussels on Monday against a backdrop of political infighting among British ministers over the terms of Britain's departure from the European Union.

"We made a good start last month, and this week we'll be getting into the real substance", Davis was quoted by Reuters as saying ahead of the meeting.

Working groups focused on three issues: citizens' rights; an European Union demand that Britain pay billions of euros to cover ongoing European Union budget commitments; and other loose ends.

Davis is attempting to accelerate a dialogue between himself and Barnier, open divisions in British Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet make it hard to determine the British course of action, Bloomberg News said Monday.

Beginning the second round of Brexit talks, Mr Barnier said today that he will focus on the "heart of the matter" with his British counterpart David Davis who will join him on Thursday in a joint press conference to discuss this week's proceedings.

European Union chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said that "We will now delve into the heart of the matter".

While the EU Commission negotiators each sat with a stack of briefing papers in front of them, the United Kingdom delegation had none, leading to speculation on Twitter as to whether they had actually brought any.

European officials have said the British proposal to give EU citizens "settled status" does not go far enough.

The British side had urged over the past months an immediate start of trade talks, but Barnier had insisted that key issues of Brexit must be dealt with before trade talks begin.

The four days of talks are set to also address more detailed concerns such as Britain's future in Euratom, the EU's nuclear safety agency, and the role of the European Court of Justice, the EU's top court. The EU has demanded Britain to pay some 60 billion euros (70 billion US dollars) as exit fee. The tensions have shaken the British government, which on Thursday introduced the draft law that would formally put an end to Britain's membership of the EU May faces a battle over the bill, which opponents said included a risky "power grab" by London at the expense of Scotland and Wales.

Mr Grayling said the suggestion that there were "profound and fundamental differences" between Cabinet ministers on Brexit were "a bit exaggerated", but admitted: "We're not a group of clones, we have discussions around the Cabinet table and outside Cabinet, we debate issues, we decide what's right and then we get on with it".

  • Joey Payne