EU Parliament's Brexit coordinator urges May to address chamber


The UK plans to keep contributing to European Union defence operations and agree joint foreign policy positions after Brexit, a government paper will set out later.

European Parliament Vice President Mairead McGuinness, who is a member of the parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee, said a proposal has been discussed which outlines a reduction in the total number of MEPs but proposes additional seats for certain countries including Ireland.

The government has offered to maintain strong security connections with the European Union after it has departed from the bloc.

The government emphasised that "NATO will continue to be the cornerstone" of its security upon leaving the EU in March 2019 but that Britain would seek a UK-EU relationship that is "deeper than any third country partnership".

The Government is also offering to agree joint foreign policy positions with Brussels, including co-operating on global sanctions against states or terrorist organisations.

We want this European Union role to continue after we leave.

Opponents of Brexit argue that leaving the European Union will undermine cooperation with the bloc against crime, terrorism and military threats.

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Another source said Britain asked for the delay to let May set out London's latest views and plans on Brexit before more negotiations.

Speaking on BBC radio on Tuesday, Defence Minister Michael Fallon said the paper "isn't a negotiating strategy".

Labour wants to remain in the single market during the interim period following Brexit day, now set for March 29, 2019, while a eurosceptic group of Conservatives is pressing May to make a clean break.

"Without it, we would be approaching a cliff-edge of uncertainty which is not in the interest of anyone", he said. We want to achieve full tariff-free access to the single market.

Negotiating teams for Britain and the European Union had been due to reconvene in Brussels next week for a fourth round of talks.

The UK government said Tuesday that the next round of Brexit negotiations had been delayed a week and would now start on September 25.