EU chief negotiator heading to London for Brexit talks

Brexit talks will step up a gear next week as the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier travels to London for a meeting with David Davis.

The Brexit Secretary will see his Brussels counterpart on Monday as negotiations on a proposed transition deal gather pace.

Mr Davis tweeted: "Looking forward to welcoming @MichelBarnier to London on Monday. Important next step in our work to build new partnership between UK & EU."

The meeting comes in the wake of a clash between the two sides over the rights of EU migrants who come to the UK during any transition period.

Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted that EU workers who arrive in the UK during the proposed transition arrangements from March 2019 to December 2020 cannot have the same status as people who came to Britain before withdrawal.

The talks also follow a rejection by International Trade Secretary Liam Fox of reports the UK is seeking a form of customs union with the EU after Brexit.

Officials will hold technical talks in Brussels next week, with the UK expected to give an update on its plans for the future relationship on February 9.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "My understanding of what the EU has set out is that these talks on the future relationship will be at a technical level looking at the process and structure of how the talks on the future relationship proceed."

Asked if Cabinet ministers on the Brexit sub-committee would hold crunch talks about the deal sought with Brussels, the spokesman said: "There are meetings of the sub-committee next week but we won't get into the discussion that will take place within those sub-committees."

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