'Brexit talks to start as scheduled despite losing parliamentary majority'

May not a'dead woman walking: Britain's Brexit minister

Conservative Party sources say May wants to show her government is up and running but her loss of authority in last week's election will make it harder to handle a hectic agenda - Brexit talks with the European Union, tackling a slowing economy, a political crisis in Ireland, and a devastating fire in London.

Mr Gove told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the Tory failure to win a majority meant Brexit must proceed with the "maximum possible consensus".

The Brexit negotiator asked London not to "waste time" and explained that it will take "several months to draw out the conditions of an orderly withdrawal, with hard and sensitive points of discussion".

"There is a unity of objective among people in the United Kingdom", May said following a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

"It is clear that our country faces some of the greatest challenges of our time", she told parliament.

Before the election, May proposed a clean break from the European Union, involving withdrawal from the European Union single market, limits on immigration and a bespoke customs deal with the EU.

There are growing calls among MPs of all the major parties for May to drop plans to withdraw from the single market and end freedom of movement, and to soften her stance so that the Brexit deal reflects the electorate's demands. But any hopes of a new negotiating strategy would have been dashed by Tuesday's appointment of Steve Baker, the leader of the backbench Tory Euroskeptics, as a minister in the department. "We really need to do everything we conceivably can to make sure that doesn't happen".

"I can't negotiate with myself".

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, warned Tuesday that "the current uncertainty can not continue" and on Wednesday issued five "pressing questions" on Twitter.

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"Like Alice in Wonderland, not all the doors are the same".

The newly-appointed Environment Secretary said the European Union referendum result must be honoured but it is "really important" that the exit package is "in the interests of the whole country".

"Their position on this was very similar to the Conservative position according to their manifesto".

"We would restore faith in politics if we could show that this parliament can at least function in presenting a view in the national interest which would command a majority on a cross-party basis", said veteran pro-European Conservative lawmaker Ken Clarke.

The performance of the British economy could also influence perceptions: Data on Wednesday showed average weekly pay in the three months to April was down 0.4 percent, year-on-year, in inflation-adjusted terms - the biggest fall since the three months to September 2014.

However, the prospect of a deal has prompted warnings that it could upset Northern Ireland's fragile peace.

Sinn Fein's Northern Ireland leader Michelle O'Neill (left), Sinn Fein's party president Gerry Adams after talks at 10 Downing Street, London.

The EU negotiator said the special nature of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland would be a key element of the talks.

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