A minister in trade secretary Liam Fox’s new department has conceded that the UK’s Brexit negotiations could be disrupted by next year’s German and French elections.

Greg Hands MIPIM UK

Greg Hands (far right) speaking at MIPIM UK this morning - Source: @MIPIMWorld/Twitter

Theresa May has committed to triggering Article 50 – which will formally start the two-year negotiation period with the EU – by March 2017.

However, both France and Germany go to the polls later in the year: German parliamentary elections will likely be held in September, while France elects a new President in May, and a new National Assembly in June.

Speaking to Property Week at MIPIM UK today, minister for international trade Greg Hands admitted that the early start to negotiations could mean that the UK  may find  that its future relationship with the EU is “in the hands” of new leaders.

Asked whether the government would have to restart Brexit negotiations following the German and French elections, Hands said: “We’ll have to wait and see. The negotiations would start and the impact of the elections… we’re slightly in the hands of whoever gets elected at that point, if there’s a change of government.”