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UK's Fox slams EU for slow progress in Brexit talks
[MANCHESTER, England] Brexit negotiations descended into a blame game on Tuesday with UK Trade Secretary Liam Fox hitting back at the European Union in a dispute over why it is taking so long to get a deal.
"The process is being made harder than it has to be but the blame for that doesn't lie on this side of the Channel, the blame for that lies on the unwillingness of the European Union to get into the second stage of negotiations," Mr Fox said in a BBC radio interview.
Just hours earlier, EU President Jean-Claude Juncker and the bloc's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned that Britain had not done enough in the divorce talks to move forward with a discussion on future trade terms.
Mr Fox's comments were partly aimed at his local audience - euro-skeptic Tories gathered at the Conservative Party's annual conference in Manchester, England.
These are the people who will pick the next party leader - and they are overwhelmingly pro-Brexit.
The longer the delay in moving on to discuss future trade, the "more difficult" for everybody to get to a deal in the timetable the UK wants - by Brexit day in March 2019, he said.
"There is intense frustration that the European Union are concentrating on issues like the money and not letting us progress beyond that - I think that is what's driving certainly the frustration of most of the people I have spoken to here over the last few days," said Mr Fox.