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UK Brexit minister says "good prospect" of agreeing transitional deal with EU

[LONDON] There is a good prospect Britain will negotiate a transitional arrangement with the European Union before it leaves the bloc in March 2019, Britain's Brexit minister David Davis said on Thursday.

Mr Davis said Britain had only raised the issue of transition briefly with the EU so far in negotiations as it is not among the first four issues due to be discussed.

Asked by a lawmaker what prospects there were for bespoke transitional arrangements being agreed and implemented by March 2019, Mr Davis told parliament: "We are finding that the (European) Commission is open to discussion of transition ... I think there is a very good prospect."

Parliament is on Thursday due to begin debating legislation to sever political, financial and legal ties with the EU, and the opposition Labour Party has said it cannot support the bill without it being amended to better protect workers' rights.

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Junior Brexit minister Steve Baker told lawmakers the government would not accept any amendments to the bill that compromised its purpose.