So it begins: Britain kicks off Brexit negotiations with European Union

The EU's executive Commission said in a statement Friday that the first round of negotiations in Brussels will be part of a "sequenced approach to the talks".

With clouds still hanging over Prime Minister Theresa May's government, the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier has won an early concession from his counterpart, Brexit Secretary David Davis, by ensuring that the talks start with discussions on the UK's divorce settlement with the bloc.

Anxious by immigration and loss of sovereignty, Britain voted past year to end its four-decades-old membership of the 28-country bloc - the first state ever to do so. The talks are starting on time despite chaos in London after Prime Minister Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority this month after a disastrous election result.

Last weekend Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson sought to capitalise on her election success by calling for a Brexit that put economic growth ahead of controlling immigration, or as she termed it an "open Brexit".

Many in Brussels fear that London has no real strategy, with May under pressure at home, still trying to close a deal with a conservative Northern Ireland party to stay in power, and facing criticism for her handling of the aftermath of a devastating tower block fire.

The government s current weakness has fuelled criticism of its approach to Brexit and given rise to notions that the government might pursue a softer tone.

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But the most delicate issue is the future of European Union citizens already living in Britain and British in Europe.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who is newly influential after winning a crucial 13 seats in Scotland, has said Britain should prioritise "freedom to trade and our economic growth".

We'd leave the Customs Union, which means that Britain at the moment is able to export goods to Europe without any tariffs and without any checks at the frontier. We are leaving the EU.

"In my experience recently, businesses that look over the garden fence have gone: "Hmm, (the) grass is not quite as dark and unforgiving as you might expect", Andrew told the BBC.

Of the 35 per cent of Labour supporters who said quitting the European Union motivated their vote, 47 per cent explicitly said they wanted a soft Brexit compared with 4 per cent who wanted a hard Brexit, while 27 per cent were opposed to Britain leaving at all.

But Hammond said transitional arrangements would be necessary, to give business greater certainty.

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Put together, May's case for a hard Brexit is extraordinarily weak - something that negotiators in Brussels will see coming before Davis and his team have a chance to step off the Eurostar train.

Working groups will be set up to focus on three key areas - the status of EU citizens living in Britain and British citizens living in the EU; the divorce bill for Britain; and the future of the Northern Irish border with EU member Ireland.

David Davis, the minister in charge of Britain's European Union exit, said the talks would see the building of a "new, deep and special relationship" with the EU. They also have a strong incentive to deny the United Kingdom a deal so attractive it might encourage others to follow the British example.

"No deal would be a very, very bad outcome for Britain", Hammond said Sunday.

The chancellor said he would reject any deal "designed to destroy us".

While EU officials assume that Britain still wants to leave the EU completely, in line with the plan Mrs May's outlined in January, there are other options being planned.

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British health authorities will also provide long-term bereavement counselling for those who lost loved ones in the tragedy. British Prime Minister Theresa May herself had come in for a barrage of criticism over her own response to the disaster.

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