Britain's finance minister denied that talks between the U.K. and the European Union were deadlocked and said it was clumsy to call EU negotiators "the enemy."
Philip Hammond told CNBC on Monday that he didn't think the talks had stalled between the two sides, raising the prospect of "no deal" scenario at the end of the U.K.'s two-year Brexit negotiating period, in March 2018.
"The real interests of the parties are so blindingly obviously in the best interest of both the U.K. and the European Union 27 (the other countries in the EU) that we do reach a deal so that we can carry on trading together," he said, adding, "but I'm confident we will get to a deal."
Despite Hammond's confidence, the two sides appeared to reach an impasse recently over unresolved issues, particularly over the so-called "divorce bill" with uncertainty around the extent of the U.K.'s outstanding financial obligations to the EU.
The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said last week that other issues including the Northern Irish/Irish border and EU citizens' rights have yet to be spelled out in detail by the U.K. either. As such, there had not been enough progress to move onto the next stage of talks — specifically, a trade deal between the U.K. and EU which is what Britain wants to focus on.