EU Brexit chief slams 'unacceptable' David Davis comments on Irish border agreement

Posted On: 
12th December 2017

The European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator has blasted "unacceptable" comments by David Davis that agreements struck between the Government and Brussels last week are not legally binding.

Guy Verhofstadt said the EU needed assurances the UK would act in 'good faith'
Credit: 
PA Images

Guy Verhofstadt said his counterpart’s claim had “undermined trust” between Britain and the EU – just days after the Prime Minister flew to Brussels to thrash out a deal.

The Brexit Secretary said on Sunday that ruling out a hard border in Ireland was merely “a statement of intent” and therefore not “a legally enforceable thing”.

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However he sparked confusion yesterday by insisting the Brexit deal struck by Theresa May was "more than legally enforceable".

Mr Verhofstadt, who is the European Parliament's Brexit negotiator, took to Twitter to make clear his anger at Mr Davis's comments.

He said MEPs would move to enshrine the agreement into law “ASAP”, and published an amendment on the deal which says “negotiations must be conducted in good faith" and that talks "can only progress during the second phase if the UK government also fully respects the commitments it made…”

And he added that he would propose two amendments to EU legislation regarding the deal, showing the EU would "toughen it's resolution" on the issue.

A Downing St spokesperson said: "The Secretary of State set out yesterday that the Commission agreed with him that the agreement that was reached last week is a political agreement but that will move forward into a withdrawal agreement that will be legally binding."