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Britain’s Hammond says optimistic will find common ground with Labour

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond looks on during an interview with Reuters at the British Ambassador’s residence in Beijing, China April 26, 2019. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Pool

BEIJING (Reuters) – British finance minister Philip Hammond said on Friday that he had a “very constructive meeting” with his counterpart in the opposition Labour Party before leaving for Beijing and that he was optimistic about finding common ground.

Hammond, speaking on the sidelines of a summit on China’s Belt and Road initiative in Beijing, said talks with Labour aimed at finding a way forward on Brexit had not stalled.

“I’m optimistic that we will find common ground,” he said. “Both sides have got clear positions and both sides will have to compromise in order to reach an agreement.”

Hammond added that he absolutely did not favor a no deal exit from the European Union.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; editing by Darren Schuettler