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David Davis signals clash with European Union over Brexit talks timetable

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Britain and the European Union are on a collision course over the timetable for Brexit negotiations and details over a deal on citizens’ rights, according to David Davis.

The Brexit Secretary told Peston on Sunday the government did not accept Brussels’ insistence Britain’s divorce bill and the issue of the Irish border should be included in the first stage of talks.

Mr Davis also disputed the EU’s wish for the European Court of Justice to have a role in adjudicating over the rights of EU citizens in the UK after Brexit.

He acknowledged there would likely be a “row” over the summer when it came to sequencing talks – and rejected the idea Britain would have to wait to start negotiations on a trade deal.

“We want to see everything packaged up together, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Mr Davis said.

  • Watch the full Peston on Sunday interview here
The timetable of Brexit negotiations is proving a sticking point.
The timetable of Brexit negotiations is proving a sticking point. Credit: PA


 

Speaking with ITV News’ Political Editor Robert Peston, Mr Davis revealed the government did not agree the issue of the UK’s financial divorce bill and the Irish border question should necessarily precede trade agreement talks.

But he stated his team were confident that the topic of EU citizens’ rights in the UK and those of Britons abroad could be dealt with swiftly.

However, a point of dispute would be the EU’s insistence that the ECJ adjudicate over citizens’ rights once Britain leaves the bloc.

“There will be arguments over fine detail like whether the European Court of Justice oversees these rights after we’ve left,” he said.

Mr Davis continued: “The simple truth is that we’re leaving.

“We’re going to be outside the reach of the European Court, we’re going to be outside the reach of all of the law-making capabilities of the EU.

“There are many ways of guaranteeing this [rights for EU citizens]. We don’t see a need to give in to the European ideology on the ECJ – we’ve got very good courts.”

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator. Credit: PA


 

Britain also has a “very ambitious” free trade agreement plan which the government hopes to agree with the EU as soon as possible, the Brexit Secretary said.

But he admitted the position set out by Brussels was aimed at ensuring “the negotiating pressure is on us – that’s why it is designed this way” with “the most difficult bit, the funding and Northern Ireland” established as hurdles to be crossed before trade talks can begin.

He labelled Brussels’ position on the financial settlement and Irish border as “wholly illogical”.

Mr Davis said: “How on earth do you resolve the issue of the border with Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland unless you know what our general borders policy is, what the customs agreement is, what the free trade agreement is, whether you need to charge tariffs at the border or not?

“You can’t decide one without the other.”

http://www.itv.com/news/2017-05-14/david-davis-signals-clash-with-european-union-over-brexit-talks-timetable/

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