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Top Brexit lawmaker says not enough progress in talks

Pro-remain supporters of Britain staying in the EU, pose for photographers wearing EU flag masks whilst taking part in an anti-Brexit protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. Lawmakers are due to vote late Monday or early Tuesday on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which aims to convert around 12,000 EU laws and regulations into domestic statute on the day the country leaves the bloc in March 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Parliament’s top Brexit envoy says not enough progress has been made in discussions between Britain and the European Union for any negotiations on a future trade relationship to begin.

Guy Verhofstadt said Tuesday that “sufficient progress has not been made” on Britain’s divorce bill, the future border arrangements between Ireland and Northern Ireland and the rights of citizens affected by Brexit.

Verhofstadt said lawmakers are set to debate on Oct. 3 whether the negotiations should be broadened to discuss trade and the shape of post-Brexit relations.

EU leaders insist the talks must first focus on Britain’s withdrawal and that they rule whether “sufficient progress” has been made to move forward. London opposes this process.

EU lawmakers must endorse any agreement before Britain leaves in March 2019.

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