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‘Get Thee Behind Me Satan!’ David Davis brands EU Brexit negotiator the devil as he dismisses freedom of movement ultimatum

  • Davis dismisses Guy Verhofstadt’s comments telling Britain it will have to accept freedom of movement in exchange for single market access
  • EU Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator says four freedoms ‘inseparable’
  • Insists Brexit ‘must be delivered by 2019’ as he sets out stubborn terms  

Brexit Secretary David Davis branded a top EU negoatior ‘Satan’ today as he dismissed an ultimatum that Britain must continue to accept open door immigration in exchange for access to the single market.

Guy Verhofstadt, who has been appointed the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, said the EU’s four freedoms are ‘inseparable’, ruling out a deal that allows the UK to curb EU migration while remaining in the 28-nation free trade bloc.

Asked what he made about Mr Verhofstadt and his firm remarks today, Mr Davis joked:  said: ‘Get me behind me Satan.’

Brexit Secretary David Davis (pictured at the foreign affairs committee today) branded a top EU negoatior 'Satan' today as he dismissed an ultimatum that Britain must continue to accept open door immigration in exchange for access to the single market

He said his comments were ‘not new’ but warned EU officials not to confuse people over access and membership of the single market.

Mr Davis’ comments suggest the UK government could pursue a deal that gives British firms favourable access to the single market but not membership, allowing it to impose controls on freedom of movement.

Mr Verhofstadt also insisted today that Brexit must be ‘delivered before 2019’. This time-frame would require the British government to trigger Article 50 – which sets a two-year time limit on concluding exit negotiations – by the end of this year, something Theresa May has ruled out.

The Government has said it intends to trigger the Brexit negotiations early next year.

Guy Verhofstadt (pictured), the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, said the EU's four freedoms are 'inseparable', ruling out a deal that allows the UK to curb EU migration while remaining in the 28-nation free trade bloc

In a series of tweets today, Mr Verhofstadt wrote: ‘#Brexit should be delivered before 2019, when EU politics enters into new cycle & the starts new mandate.’

Another said: If UK wants access to, it must also accept the free movement of citizens. Our four freedoms are inseparable.’

Responding to Mr Verhofstadt’s latter remarks, Mr Davis told the foreign affairs committee: ‘Mr Verhofstadt’s comment is not new, he’s been saying this for some time and whilst I won’t get drawn into what our position on it is – because as I say all these options are being kept open whilst we calculate these things through – you are right in one respect, I think, that the language used about access to the single market and membership of the single market does get very confused.

‘What we want to see is the best trading capacity for British manufacturing and our service industry and that could be any of those sort of things.’

David Davis' comments suggest the UK government could pursue a deal that gives British firms favourable access to the single market but not membership, allowing it to impose controls on freedom of movement. Pictured, Mr Davies arrives at today's Cabinet meeting in Downing Street 

Mr Davis was also asked about the prospect of the traditional blue British passport returning to use after Brexit, but he said he was not interested in ‘symbolism’.

The Home Office hinted that the Government could bring back the old navy documents after Britain officially cuts ties with Brussels.

Brexit campaigners have deplored the fact that the first two words on the current British passport is ‘European Union’.

Answering a parliamentary question, Home Office minister Robert Goodwill said: ‘We are considering potential changes to the UK passport after the UK has left the European Union.

‘At this early stage we have not undertaken a detailed cost benefit analysis or made any decisions about what a future UK passport might look like.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3787675/Get-Thee-Satan-David-Davis-brands-EU-Brexit-negotiator-devil-dismisses-freedom-movement-ultimatum.html

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