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Brexit – The UK Negotiating Team

Details about Civil Service members of the negotiating team for the UK during Brexit negotiations have been made available on the government website from the Department for Exiting the European Union.


They are

Read their biographies here

Biographies of the Civil Service representatives for the negotiations with the EU

Brexit – Opening Remarks by David Davis

The opening remarks by David Davis at the start of EU exit negotiations in Brussels.

I’m here in Brussels today, to begin the next phase of our work to build a new, deep and special partnership with the European Union.

But our thoughts this morning are rightly with the victims and families of the awful attack in London early this morning and with those who have lost loved ones in Portugal too in that terrible tragedy there.

It is at testing times like these that we are reminded of the values and the resolve we share with our closest allies in Europe.

For there is more that unites us than divides us.

So while there will undoubtedly be challenging times ahead of us in the negotiations we will do all that we can to ensure we deliver a deal that works in the best interests of all of our citizens.

To that end we are starting this negotiation in a positive and constructive tone, determined to build a strong and special partnership between ourselves, our European allies and friends.

Brexit Negotiations Begin

Almost a year to the date of the referendum on continued membership of the European Union, talks have finally started. The two sides have until 29 March 2019 to reach an agreement unless the period is extended.

A brief reminder of the timetable so far:

  • Electors in the UK voted in a referendum on Thursday 23 June 2016 to decide whether the UK should remain as members of the European Union.
  • On the 29 March 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May wrote to European Council President Donald Tusk to notify him of the UK’s intention to leave the EU in accordance with Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union
  • A provision of Article 50 specifies that the EU “shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with the leaving State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union”. These negotiations began on 19 June 2017

The Agenda for the initial meeting is as follows (times are in CET)

As mentioned in an earlier post, documents published as part of the European Commission’s approach to transparency on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom are available at


There are a number of documents available including:

Position paper transmitted to the UK: essential principles on the financial settlement

Position paper transmitted to the UK: essential principles on citizens’ rights

General Election 2017 – Results

A General Election was held in the UK on 8 June 2017 and 32,181,75 votes were cast from an electorate of 46,843,896 which shows a turnout of 68.7% and that 14,662,139 people, 31.03% of the possible electorate, DID NOT VOTE.

To have an overall majority a party needs to get one more seat than the number of seats won by all the other parties added together.

The results to elect 650 Members of Parliament were as follows:

The results show that the Conservatives won the election by having the largest number of seats, at 318, but fall short of an overall majority for which 326 seats are required. Thus, the election has resulted in a “hung” Parliament.

(Note: The figures for the Conservative party include the Speaker. The Speaker is counted as a Conservative by some media sources, based on his previous party affiliation, but in reality the Conservatives have a working total of 317 MPs)

The Labour party came next having the next largest number of seats at 262 seats.

Since the previous election, the Conservatives have lost 13 seats, Labour have gained 30 seats, the SNP have lost 21 seats, Liberal Democrats have gained 4 seats, the Democratic Unionist Party have gained 2 seats, Sinn Fein 3 seats and Plaid Cymru 1 seat. UKIP, the Social Democratic & Labour party and the Ulster Unionist Party no longer have seats in Parliament.

In terms of seats, the biggest losers in this election were SNP followed by the Conservatives. The biggest winners being Labour. However, having lost their overall majority in Parliament, the Conservatives are certainly the biggest losers.

The Conservative party have sought to forge an alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party in order to form a government.

Facts and Figures

England have 533 seats in Parliament. The Conservatives have 297 (-22) seats, Labour 227 (+21), Liberal Democrats 8 (+2) and the Green party 1 (0). UKIP lost their only seat. Figures in brackets indicate changes in the number of seats since the last general election in 2015.

Scotland have 59 seats in Parliament. The SNP hold 35 (-21) seats, Conservatives 13 (+12), Labour 7 (+6) and Liberal Democrats 4 (+3).

Wales have 40 seats in Parliament. Labour have 28 (+3) seats, Conservative 8 (-3) seats and plaid Cymru 4 (+1) seats. The Liberal Democrats lost their only seat in Wales.

Northern Ireland have 18 seats in Parliament. The Democratic Unionist Party have 10 (+2) seats, Sinn Fein 7 (+3), the SDLP and UUP last all their seats and an independent gained the other seat.

The following graphic shows the percentage of votes cast and arranged in order of seats won by each party

One graphic, which you may not see very often, shows the results as a percentage of the total electorate rather than as a percentage of the votes cast.


Nick Clegg, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, lost his seat in Sheffield Hallam to Labour.

Former Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable regained his seat in Twickenham.

Alex Salmond (former first minister of Scotland) lost his seat on a swing of 20% to the Conservatives.

Angus Robertson, SNP leader at the House of Commons, lost his seat to the Conservatives.

Paul Nuttall came third in Boston and Skegness with 3,308 votes where the seat was held by the Conservatives with 27,271 votes. He subsequently resigned as leader of UKIP.

Tim Farron retained his seat in Westmorland and Lonsdale, after a recount, by 777 votes.

Amber Rudd retained her seat in Hastings and Rye, after a recount, by 346 votes.


Exit Poll

An exit poll was created by Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University on behalf of the BBC, ITV and Sky broadcasters and was based on interviews conducted with voters outide polling stations after they had voted. It was released at 10:00pm after voting had closed and predicted:

The Conservatives would be the largest party but without an overall majority winning 314 seats, down 17 on the previous election, Labour would have 266 seats up 34, the SNP would have 34 seats down 22. Liberal democrats on 14 seats up 6, Plaid Cymru 3, Greens 1 and UKIP 0 with other parties on 18

General Election 2017 – Manifestos

A general election will take place in the UK on 8th June 2017 and the main parties have issued their Manifestos.

Copies of the manifestos can be found as follows (in alphabetical order):







Liberal Democrats


Scottish National Party (SNP)




It is unclear how many people actually spend the time to trawl through these documents. The Conservative manifesto weighs in at around 88 pages, Labour covers around 128 pages and the Liberal Democrats at around 100 pages. Far better would be a document of 1 or 2 pages summarising the “claims” of what they intend to do if elected as the governing party.

Once in power, these documents are not always followed depending on the prevailing wind at the time. Items often being conveniently dropped if it doesn’t actually suit the actual aims of the party (or parties) in power. In addition they can used to claim that they (the party) have a mandate to implement unpopular or controversial decisions as they were elected on the basis of their manifestos.