BORIS Johnson is expected to formally open trade talks with the US before he begins discussions with the EU.
The PM wants Cabinet authorisation to open discussions during a visit to Washington next month, US diplomats have revealed.
It comes after civil servants drew up advice for ministers on the pros and cons of making the move.
One government source who has seen the advice said: We mean business and were not messing around. The political signal would be, Weve got the capacity to do this at the same time, dont hold this up.
Mr Johnson is expected to visit Washington in the second or third week of February before US President Donald Trump sets off on his re-election campaign.
He believes opening talks with the US first will avoid becoming trapped by Brussels negotiators like his predecessor Theresa May.
It would also negate some of the concerns of the EU trying to play the ball in the way they want.
The US was also said to be impatient to get started on talks.
Under the timeframe being discussed by both sides, the Cabinet decision would be followed by the publication of UK trade negotiation objectives within two weeks. The US will have two two weeks to reply.
Yesterday, the European Parliaments Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt boasted that he had secured a deal to stop the automatic deportation of EU citizens who missed the deadline to apply for settled status.
But he admitted that Europe had failed to secure the same promise to British ex-pats.
He said, after meeting Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay in London, that the Government had conceded on giving EU citizens a hard copy of their settled status confirmation.
He said he was pressing 15 EU countries who had yet to make the same commitment for Brits.