Theresa May put Jean-Claude Juncker ‘back in his box’, says David Davis
Theresa May put European officials "back in their box" after details of a Downing Street dinner between the Prime Minister and Jean-Claude Juncker were leaked, according to David Davis.
The Brexit Secretary said the Prime Minister’s negotiating team have "shown we mean business" and will not put up with "silly games" by Brussels.
A report in a German newspaper earlier this month claimed Mr Juncker told Angela Merkel after the Number 10 dinner that Mrs May was "on another galaxy" when it comes to the Brexit negotiations.
“We waited 48 hours while people in Brussels started criticising Theresa and launching various attacks on me,” Mr Davis told the Daily Express.
“And then [Mrs May] said, ‘That’s enough!’ and put them back in their box, basically.
“What has happened since is that Juncker has admitted it was a bad mistake, Michel Barnier [chief EU negotiator] is being constructive, so we think now we are going to get off to a good start.
“There will still be bumps along the way, that is guaranteed to happen because there will come times when they want to test our resolve and see if we really mean it.
“The public will have to sit through some slightly tense periods. But that’s OK, I am confident we can get there.”
Mr Davis also hit out at Labour for attacking the idea of walking away from talks without a trade deal with the EU, insisting the option must remain available.
“They are saying they would never walk away. It is the same as buying a house – if you walk in and say I am going to buy this house you are going to pay an awful lot for it, he said.
“Anybody who has to do any negotiation in any aspect of their lives knows you can’t just say, ‘We will take any deal rather than walk away’, which is what Labour is prepared to do. Half of my work is preparing the ‘walk away’ option.
“I don’t expect it will ever be used but it has got to be there as an available option if we absolutely need it.”
The Brexit Secretary also hit back at Evening Standard editor George Osborne, after the former Chancellor claimed every senior minister in the Cabinet is opposed to the party’s vow to reduce net migration below 100,000 a year.
"He is absolutely wrong,” Mr Davis responded. "But we have not put a timetable on this because it will depend on the economy.
“We will bring immigration down in a way that is responsible, has got the clear aim of a sustainable level, which is the tens of thousands.”