Justice secretary urges Brussels not to drag feet over Brexit in call for deal to be made 'swiftly without bureaucracy'

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Britain appealed to Brussels today to show more “political will” on Brexit amid fears that talks over a trade deal could be delayed. 

Justice Secretary David Lidington said he was confident Brexit would happen in two years despite suggestions negotiations will not start in full until Christmas. Negotiators on both sides have criticised each other over the slow progress in the “divorce” settlement including on a multi-billion pound bill the UK is expected to have to pay.

As Britain publishes a string of position papers to inject momentum, Mr Lidington stressed that the EU can move fast when it wants to.

“When there’s the political will [the EU] can act very swiftly when there is a determination to reach an agreed outcome,” he told Sky News. “It’s possible for us to get a constructive deal in place in the timeframe.”

The Government’s position paper today explored ways to settle cross border legal disputes and suggests civil courts in the EU will be needed. Mr Lidington said: “If you are a German wife divorcing a British husband, or a British parent whose kids have been taken to Greece, you want it sorted swiftly without bureaucracy.” 

Mr Lidington, who campaigned for Remain, did little to reject suggestions that this proposal, and those on customs union arrangements, try to almost replicate the current systems.

However, legal experts warned that Brexit could lead to cross-border legal disputes being more complex.

Britain starts its third round of EU talks next week. Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar has said: “There are so many difficult topics that one cannot expect them to be solved according to the schedule made in the first place.”


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