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David Davis 'steps up preparations for no deal Brexit' as May calls for new 'dynamic' from EU

John Ashmore

2 min read

David Davis has reportedly told officials to step up preparations for a 'no deal' Brexit, as Theresa May urged EU leaders to create a new "dynamic" in negotiations. 

The Times reports that the Brexit Secretary will present Cabinet colleagues with a fresh assessment of Britain's prospects if it fails to secure a trading partnership with the bloc. 

At the same time, the Prime Minister told European leaders yesterday night that "firm progress" was being made on exit talks, as she urged both sides to "work together to get to an outcome that we can stand behind and defend to our people". 

Her calls for the EU to create a new "dynamic" which "enables us to move forward together" were a clear suggestion that it was time for the 27 other member states to move discussions on to a future trading relationship. 

The same paper reports that Mrs May had private discussions with EU leaders about the size of the so-called 'divorce bill', with the Prime Minister indicating the UK would be willing to pay 20bn to cover future liabilities - although neither side is likely to publicly set out a precise figure.

She was handed a boost yesterday when Angela Merkel said there had been "encouraging" signs of progress and trade talks could yet begin in December of this year. 

So far the European Council has not given the green light to chief negotiator Michel Barnier to move the talks on, judging that not enough has been agreed on the key areas of the exit payment and the future of the Irish border. 

On the other key issue of citizens' rights, Mrs May has said an agreement is "within touching distance" and the UK is clear that it wants EU nationals to stay after Brexit, even in a 'no deal' scenario.

On preparations for leaving the bloc without a deal, a Downing St source told the Times: "“As we have said repeatedly, while our priority is a good deal, responsible government prepares for all eventualities.”

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