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UK frustrated by slow pace of Brexit talks: Finance minister

British Finance Minister Philip Hammond (Photo by AFP)

British Finance Minister Philip Hammond has said Prime Minister Theresa May and her all senior ministers are frustrated by the slow pace of Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

Hammond made the remarks at the Conservative Party's conference in Manchester, northern England, on Monday, claiming May’s team is loyal to her and there are no rifts in the cabinet.  

He played down the importance of four new red lines in the negotiations set down by Foreign Minister Boris Johnson in an interview with a British newspaper that underlined the rifts in May’s cabinet.

A post-Brexit transition period should last “not a second more” than two years after Britain formally leaves the EU, Johnson said.

"We're all frustrated by the slow progress that we've made over the last few months with the European Union negotiations, that's why the prime minister went to Florence 10 days ago and made a key speech which was designed specifically to unstick the logjam in the negotiations and move them forward," he told ITV television.

"Boris' position on these issues is well known. I back the prime minister in what is a very complex and delicate negotiation with our European Union partners to deliver Britain's exit in the way the British people have mandated us to do,” he added.

Johnson's red lines are 'political posturing'

Britain's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson (Photo by AFP)

May's several allies have accused Johnson of “political posturing" and said that his red lines are designed to boost his profile.

Prime Minister May in an interview on Sunday refused to deny suggestions that Johnson has become "unsackable" after his intervention in the Brexit negotiations.

Meanwhile, she said that the government will need some changes if it cannot reach a deal with the EU over Brexit.

"Government is working on what would need to be put in place if there is no deal, what we are also working on is ensuring we get a deal, get the right deal for the United Kingdom," May said.

EU officials have been complaining that the British side has been weaseling out of its obligations and failing to address the three key points raised in previous Brexit talks: EU citizen rights, Northern Ireland's border and a divorce bill.

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