12.10pm: Theresa May has told the nation that the Finsbury Park terror attack is “every bit as sickening as those which have come before”.
The Prime Minister said: “It was an attack which once again targeted the ordinary and the innocent going abut their daily lives, this time British Muslims as they left a mosque having broken their fast and prayed together at this sacred time of year.”
She condemned the attack, which she said acted as a reminder that extremism and hatred take many forms.
Mrs May will later meet with the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar in London. On Thursday she will meet EU leaders at the European Council summit.
Although no formal negotiations will take place, Mrs May is expected to speak with key leaders including Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.
11.25am: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said that Brexit talks will lead to a “happy resolution… with profit and with honour for both sides”.
Speaking in Germany ahead of a meeting of the foreign affairs council, Mr Johnson said: “Obviously this is the first day of the talks on Brexit and of course there will be lots of discussions about the nature of the deal we’re going to do, about money and so on and so forth.
“But the most important thing I think now is for us to look to the horizon, raise our eyes to the horizon think about the future think, about the new partnership.
“About the deep and special partnership that we want to build with our friends and I think in the long run this will be good for the UK and good for the rest of Europe, that’s what we’re hoping for.”
Mr Johnson has backed Theresa May to remain on as Prime Minister despite falling approval ratings and growing calls for her resignation from opponents.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “My strong feeling is that the last thing the electorate wants is more elections or more political shenanigans of one kind or another.
“There’s a huge task to get on with with Brexit. We’ve got to do it well, we can do it in a positive way, I think we can build something brilliant out of this.”
Mr Johnson’s aides have reportedly backed David Davis as a potential replacement for Mrs May if she were to step down.
10.30am: Brexit Secretary David Davis and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, have appeared together as Brexit talks get under way in Brussels.
Mr Davis said that negotiations will begin “in a positive and constructive tone, determined to build a strong and special partnership between ourselves and our European allies and friends”.
He added: “I’m in Brussels today, like Michel, to begin the next phase of our work to build a new, deep and special relationship with the European Union.
“Our thoughts this morning are rightly with the victims and families of the awful attack in London early this morning and of course also with those who have lost loved ones in Portugal.
“It’s at testing times like these that we are reminded of the values and the resolve that we share with our closest allies in Europe. There is more that unites us than divides us.
“So while there will undoubtedly be challenging times ahead of us in the negotiations, we will do all that we can to ensure that we deliver a deal that works in the best interest of all citizens.”
Mr Barnier also offered his condolences to the victims of the London attack and the Portugal forest fires.
Turning to the matter at hand, he continued: “Our objective is clear, we must first tackle uncertainties caused by Brexit. First for citizens, also for beneficiaries of EU policies and the impact on borders in particular Ireland.
“I hope that today we can identify priorities and the timetable that will allow me to report to the European Council later this week that we have a constructive start to negotiations.”
Mr Davis and Mr Barnier will spend today working on a timetable for negotiations.
Their first session began at 10am BST. After an hour-and-a-half session they will take an early “working lunch”, with aides from both sides sitting down in the afternoon to work on a detailed plan.
A closing session between the two principal negotiators will start at 5.30pm BST, with another press conference to follow.
Source : EXPRESS