‘We’ll argue about that’ David Davis REJECTS EU timetable for Brexit as he braces for rows

BREXIT Secretary David Davis yesterday set the scene for a summer of “rows” with Brussels over the timetabling of exit talks and settling citizens’ rights.

David Davis on Brexit: The British people will NOT be bullied

He said the UK would stick to its argument that future trade and other links with the European Union must be discussed alongside the settlement of any British “divorce” bill.Chief EU Commission negotiator Michel Barnier says there must be good progress on Britain’s exit fee, the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and Britons on the Continent, and the future border between EU member Ireland and Britain’s Northern Ireland before anything else can be discussed.

Mr Davis told ITV’s Peston on Sunday that Article 50 of the EU treaties which Mrs May invoked in March to start up to two years of Brexit talks “says you’ll decide what is now called the divorce arrangement, the separation, taking into account the ongoing relationship.

David Davies Michel BarnierGETTY             Mr Davies set the scene for a summer of ‘rows’ with Brussels over the timetabling of exit talks

David Davis

“How can you take into account the ongoing relationship which doesn’t exist yet?”Mr Davis rejected the EU’s timetable for Brexit talks, saying the UK would be disadvantaged by an early agreement regarding its financial obligations and the future status of the Northern Irish border.

Britain wanted to get on with negotiating its “big, very ambitious free trade agreement” as soon as possible.

Brussels was thus trying to pressure on the UK by insisting on dealing with “the most difficult bit – the funding and Northern Ireland – before we do anything else.

“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?” Mr Davis asked.

Michel BarnierEPA                Chief EU Commission negotiator Michel Barnier laid out the priorities of discussion

“We are very conscious of the time sequencing of this. We’re also very conscious of how they will use that time sequencing to pressure us. And we’ll avoid that at every turn.”Mr Davis was hopeful the two sides could quickly strike a deal on guaranteeing EU citizens’ rights in the UK and those of Britons living in other European countries – the only aspect he said should be agreed ahead of everything else.

But he objected to suggestions the UK courts could not rule on any disputes concerning those rights.

David DavisGETTY                He says the border with Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will be the row of the summer

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

“We will have an argument about that.”He also insisted the Government must keep the option of leaving the EU without a deal if the terms on offer were unacceptable.

Last week’s leaked draft Labour manifesto suggested Jeremy Corbyn would not leave without a deal.

Jeremy CorbynGETTY                  Last week’s leaked draft Labour manifesto suggested Jeremy Corbyn would not leave without a deal

Mr Davis said: “We argue a bad deal could be significantly worse than no deal.”Taking away that option of a no deal outcome is a quite serious undermining of the negotiating capability.

“Nobody wants no deal. But if you go and buy a house and you walk in and you say ‘I’m going to buy this house whatever’, you’re going to pay a very large price for it, ditto cars, ditto anything else.

“In any negotiations you have to have the other option and one of the things that a number of people tried to do during the course of the last few months is to take it away.

“Every vote for a Conservative candidate is a vote to reinforce Theresa May’s hand.”

Appearing to counter claims Mrs May will use a huge election win to pursue a “softer” Brexit than many eurosceptics want, Mr Davis said: “Some of the Europeans thought ‘a bigger majority means they can give more away to us’. Not at all. “A big majority means we’ve got a stronger hand and get a better deal.”

The European Court of Justice is expected to rule tomorrow on whether the EU’s 38 national and regional parliaments should have the power to veto trade deals.Its decision on whether the European Commission has the sole authority to ratify the EU’s 2014 trade deal with Singapore could set an ominous precedent for the chances of quickly securing a British trade deal, some experts believe.

But International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is said to believe the risk of having deals derailed by European assemblies would encourage other countries to do more bilateral deals with the UK rather than with Brussels.

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Time for the EU leaders to stop demanding and to start behaving like adults. The more they try to bully the UK the quicker they will learn that the old bulldog spirit will rise up and bite them on the bum.

I’m back in Peter, for some reason I was locked out earlier and now posting under another persona!

Jane Davies.


Yes, I have changed the programme that runs comments and I have also allowed subscribers with previously approved comments to be able to post immediately.

The only problem with that is that I don’t get notification that pre-approved comments have been posted.

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