More hubris from Davis on Brexit

PUBLISHED: 12:07 25 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:01 26 March 2018

Brexit secretary David Davis
Photo: PA / Ian Forsyth

Brexit secretary David Davis Photo: PA / Ian Forsyth

PA Wire/PA Images

David Davis has claimed the Irish border issue will be “much easier” to solve after the European Union trade deal is agreed.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, with his usual hubris, the Brexit secretary said such a deal is now “incredibly probable” and added that the government would protect the Good Friday Agreement “at all costs”.

He said: “There is a risk in trying to focus just on the downsides because the real likely outcome – the overwhelmingly likely outcome – is option A.

“Option A is that we get a free-trade agreement, we get a customs agreement, all of those make the Northern Ireland issue much, much easier to solve.”

In the draft EU withdrawal deal there is a fallback option of Northern Ireland effectively continuing to remain in the customs union. However Davis said new technology could prevent that happening.

He added: “There are ways to do this, you can’t just say ‘we haven’t done it anywhere else’, we haven’t attempted to do it anywhere else.”

Defending the fishing deal with the EU during the transitional period he said: “We will negotiate with our surrounding states so that we have access to their waters and theirs to ours, and markets and so on, but it will be under our control.

“It will not any longer be under the qualified majority voting arrangements we currently have.”

Meanwhile, appearing on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer piled more pressure on the government over the issue of where the new blue passports should be made.

He said: “The passport is such an important issue of course it should be a British company. The story of the passport sums up the government’s approach really to Brexit.

“It starts by saying it’s going to be blue and then it’s not going to be blue. It starts saying it’s going to be the UK and now it’s France. Over-promising and under-delivering, which for me categorises year one of the negotiations.”

French firm Gemalto has been awarded the contract.

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