Former Brexit minister claims EU trade talks are in a ‘much better position’ than six months ago

PUBLISHED: 15:56 27 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:11 27 July 2020

David Davis speaks in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.

David Davis speaks in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.

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A former Brexit minister has claimed trade negotiations with the EU were not going “at all bad”, despite successive rounds of talks ending in deadlock.

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David Davis said Boris Johnson’s high-throttle strategy of threatening Europe with no-deal meant Britain was now in a “much better position” to clench one.

Taking questions from shadow Labour minister David Lammy on LBC radio, Davis lauded Johnson’s approach for whittling negotiations down to two “intrinsic” issues: fisheries and the level playing field.

Shadow justice minister David Lammy and former Brexit secretary David Davis (R); LBCShadow justice minister David Lammy and former Brexit secretary David Davis (R); LBC

“If it really is down to those two issues,” he told Lammy, “then we really are in a much better position than we would have been six months ago.

“The first three years matter less than the last three weeks and we’re still not at the last three weeks.”


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Davis downplayed suggestions that Downing Street had been weaken by a failure to clench a deal within its self-imposed deadline of the end of July.

“What really matter is when we get to November/December.”

Lammy interrupted the former FTSE 100 executive, exclaiming: “That feels a bit late. A bit fast and loose, David.”

He added: “How are businesses going to cope? We had the pandemic, we’ve had uncertainty for years, and now we don’t know what the terms are for our future trading relationship with the European Union.”

In a final push, Davis dismissed Lammy’s claims, arguing giving businesses a firm exit date would help them in the long-run.

“Predictability is valuable but not at the price of a bad deal,” he said.

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