Brexit: MEPs vote not to begin next phrase of talks without 'major breakthrough'

Brexit: Jean-Claude Juncker says EU requires greater clarity before trade discussion

Lawmakers voted after a speech by Jean-Claude Juncker

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Lawmakers in the European Parliament have voted not to begin the next phase of Brexit talks unless there is a "major breakthrough."

A motion to delay the start of trade negotiations was backed by a majority of 557 to 92 in Strasboug, with 29 abstentions.

The result is not binding, meaning the EU's Brexit negotiators can ignore it and continue to the next phase of the Brexit talks if they wish.

However it has provoked the ire of Nigel Farage, who accused the EU of treating Britain "like a hostage" according to the BBC.

The vote came after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the European Union requires greater clarity on key issues if talks are to move on to their next phase.

Addressing the European Parliament ahead of the vote, Juncker welcomed the “conciliatory” tone of Theresa May’s address in Florence, where she said no EU member-state would financially suffer as a result of Brexit.

However he said the Britain and Brussels delegations must make greater progress on the key issues raised thus far - including the Irish border, rights of EU nationals and the so-called 'divorce bill' - before the trade talks can begin.

Juncker also insisted EU taxpayers should not pay for the decision made by the UK.