Brexit negotiations are resuming in Brussels with the UK hoping to achieve progress in order for trade talks to be given the green light before Christmas. Lucy Fielder reports.
They were supposed to be discussing a post-Brexit transition deal. Instead EU ambassadors spent talks on Wednesday predicting that London would fail to come up with the cash Brussels says it owes. And considering postponing the trade talks Britain wants until the new year. They know full well that yet more uncertainty could prompt UK-based businesses to relocate. And are clearly turning the screws on UK Prime Minister Theresa May. (SOUNDBITE) PANMURE GORDON, CHIEF ECONOMIST, SIMON FRENCH, SAYING: "This is the kind of thing that's really important for British and the EU businesses, that there isn't a cliff edge where you suddenly have rules of origin checks and queues of the borders. These things need to be progressed before the UK starts to write a check. And I don't think the UK government should capitulate on that point." Pressure is something May doesn't need more of. Two scandal-hit ministers have resigned in a week - the latest international development secretary Priti Patel. What's left is a cabinet sharply divided between Brexiteers and remainers. (SOUNDBITE) PANMURE GORDON, CHIEF ECONOMIST, SIMON FRENCH, SAYING: "She will now be on the backbenches, she'll be able to speak more openly around the pursuit of a hard Brexit. That becomes a problem if Theresa May at the back end of 2018 is trying to sell to parliament and sell to the electorate a softer vision for Brexit." To get to trade talks, May will also have to persuade the Brexiteers in her party to accept compromises they don't want - such as handing over large sums of cash. A shaky government won't make that any easier.