Brexit negotiations could be delayed for a year as the European Union will draft a new mandate for chief negotiator Michel Barnier if Theresa May insists on discussing a new trade relationship at the same time as Britain's divorce bill.
Senior sources for the 27 nation bloc have said they may put the talks, which are due to commence on 19 June, on hold, while they restructure their plans.
They had been planning to resolve the divorce bill, discuss citizens rights and resolve the issue about the border with Ireland before discussing trade.
“If they don’t accept the phased negotiations then we will take a year to draw up a new set of negotiating guidelines for Barnier,” one senior EU diplomat told The Guardian.
The revelation comes after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker urged Britain to strike a deal with their European counterparts.
Shortly after it emerged that Theresa May's Conservative Party had lost their parliamentary majority in the general election, he tweeted: “We don’t know when Brexit talks start. We know when they must end. Do your best to avoid a ‘no deal’ as result of ‘no negotiations.”
However, it has subsequently emerged that the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) sent a note to the European commission on Friday evening to signal that pre-negotiation talks about logistics should begin this week.
“The prime minister has directed that the procedures for preparing the negotiations for the formal withdrawal from the European Union should start as soon as possible,” said Olly Robbins, Ms May’s EU adviser.
However, one senior Cabinet source told Sky News that Ms May needs to discard her “ideologically driven approach” in favour of “ practical pragmatism.”
UK news in pictures
UK news in pictures
1/19 24 June 2017
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses revellers from the Pyramid Stage at Worthy Farm in Somerset during the Glastonbury Festival
2/19 23 June 2017
British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses a news conference at the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 23, 2017
3/19 22 June 2017
Cosplay fans (L-R) George Massingham, Abbey Forbes and Karolina Goralik travel by tube dressed in Harry Potter themed costumes, after a visit to one the literary franchise's movie filming locations at Leadenhall Market in London, Britain
4/19 22 June 2017
Racegoers cheer on their horse on Ladies Day at the Royal Ascot horse racing meet, in Ascot, west of London
5/19 21 June 2017
A reveller walks among the tipi tents at the Glastonbury Festival of Music and Performing Arts on Worthy Farm near the village of Pilton in Somerset, South West England
6/19 20 June 2017
A police officer lays some flowers passed over by a member of the public, close to Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, after one man died and eight people were taken to hospital and a person arrested after a rental van struck pedestrian
The Borough Market bell is seen in Borough Market in central London following its re-opening after the June 3 terror attack
Two women embrace in Borough Market, which officially re-opens today following the recent attack, in central London
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan attends the re-opening of Borough market in central London following the June 3 terror attack
People walk through Borough Market in central London following its re-opening after the June 3 terror attack
News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, with one of his daughters, visit Borough Market, which officially re-opened today following the recent attack
A woman reacts in front of a wall of messages in Borough Market, which officially re-opened today following the recent attack, in central London
Vivenne Westwood walks the runway at the Vivenne Westwood show during the London Fashion Week Men's June 2017 collections
Millwall fan and London Bridge hero Roy Larner on 'Good Morning Britain'
Richard Arnold, Roy Larner, Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on 'Good Morning Britain'
16/19 11 June 2017
England players celebrate after defeating Venezuela 1-0 to win the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea 2017 at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, South Korea
17/19 11 June 2017
England players celebrate with the trophy after the final match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017 between Venezuela and England at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, South Korea
18/19 11 June 2017
Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee celebrates winning the Elite Men Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds
Danny Lawson/PA Wire
19/19 11 June 2017
Two men drink beer outside the Southwark Tavern which reopened for business today next to an entrance to Borough Market which remains closed in London
However, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has insisted the government’s view on Brexit negotiations has not changed.
“We want a successful Brexit that is a new partnership with Europe that is careful about the trade we already do with Europe that comes to some agreement on the immigration we can accept from Europe and that enables us to continue to pursue new markets elsewhere, “ he told the BBC's Andrew Marr show.
“Our view of Brexit has not changed.We want an agreement that maximises our access to the single market, comes to an arrangement on immigration, continues the security operation we already have with Europe – a successful Brexit – an agreement that is in the interests of us, but also is in the interests of Europe."Reuse content