Former Brexit secretary David Davis has claimed he ‘misspoke’ when he previously said there would be a trade deal with the EU ready for the day the UK leaves the trading bloc.
Andrew Neil questioned Davis, who was the Brexit secretary before Dominic Raab, for his BBC Two show over his claims that we would have a deal ready for the time we left the European Union.
He asked: “We are leaving the EU on Friday, at 11pm. You promised we’d have a trade deal when we left. Where is it?”
Davis bluntly replied that “we haven’t left yet”, prompting Neil to point out we will have by the end of the week.
“Let me be precise about what I said, I said we would negotiate during this period, we wouldn’t implement the trade deals under after we left, and that is the case.”
After a clip was played of the politician on the Andrew Marr show, Neil pointed out: “You’ve said we’d get a substantive deal and it would be done before the transition period.”
He continued: “You said the moment after 11pm – that is 11.01pm on Friday. Where is the trade deal?”
But Davis insisted he had not pledged to have a trade deal at the start of the transition period – but said he intended to have one by the end of it.
Neil pointed out he had said “it would be done before the transition period”.
“‘There might be some tinkering, but the substantive deal must be struck.’ You were wrong?”
The former Brexit secretary started to back down – telling the presenter “maybe I misspoke there”.
He said: “I was thinking at the end of the process, not this Friday this week. The end of the year. And I may be wrong about that, because we only have a year, and before we would have had two years.”
Davis was referencing the fact that under Boris Johnson’s proposals the UK will leave the EU in full by the end of 2020 rather than 2021.