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UK Brexit secretary David Davis today insisted that the UK should hold simultaneous talks on the terms of the UK’s exit and the make-up of future trade deals, lining up an early flash point on negotiations with Europe.

“Article 50 says the departure should be negotiated taking into account the ongoing deal. It is pretty plain that they have got to be done together,” he told Sky News this morning.

That is in contrast to the stance adopted by German chancellor Angela Merkel, who reiterated in speech yesterday that “only when the relevant questions are clarified can we subsequently — but hopefully soon — talk about our future relationship.”

Britain has called for parallel talks on trade and its withdrawal from the bloc. Prime minister Theresa May’s exit letter yesterday was less explicit on the issue than were previous statements, but she made clear the British view it was necessary to reach agreement on the terms of the country’s future partnership with Europe “alongside those of our withdrawal”.

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