David Davis tells EU: ‘Don’t put politics before prosperity’

Posted On: 
17th November 2017

David Davis has warned European states not to "put politics before prosperity" in the ongoing Brexit negotiations. 

David Davis was addressing a conference in Berlin
Credit: 
PA Images

The Brexit Secretary told an economic conference in Berlin that the UK and Brussels could agree a free trade deal broader in scope than “any the EU has agreed before”.

And he added that the “the future will be brighter” for both the UK and Germany if both sides achieve the partnership Britain is aiming for.

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It comes amid desperation from the UK to move onto trade talks despite Brussels refusing to change the debate until a number of exit issues including the controversial 'divorce bill' is settled.

After listing the various ties between the UK and Germany last night, Mr Davis warned: “I know that no one would allow short term interests to risk those hard-earned gains. Because putting politics above prosperity is never a smart choice.”

His comments come despite leaked EU documents compiled by EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier suggesting the UK can only reach a basic deal similar to that with Canada.

The papers, seen by Politico, suggest Britain’s insistence on quitting the single market and customs union limits the scope of the parties' future relationship.

In his speech however, Mr Davis said with the UK being “much closer than Canada and much bigger than Norway,” it should be able to reach a broad deal covering “goods, agriculture and services, including financial services.”

He added: “We cannot be cheaper than China. And we will never have more resources than Brazil. And that is why the U.K. is committed not only to protecting high standards, but strengthening them … we will not engage in a race to the bottom.”

His latest speech comes as the UK and EU strive to reach agreement on the initial priorities of free movement, the Irish border and the divorce bill, ahead of December’s European Council summit

Brussels has said the talks can move on to the future trading relationship once "sufficient progress" has been made on the initial issues. 

Mr Davis added that Britain had not become a country of “short-sighted islanders".

“We are the same country we have always been. With the same values and same principles we have always had. A country upon which our partners can rely,” he said.

However, when asked whether his own Government was in “chaos”, Mr Davis replied: "One of the issues in modern politics is that all governments have periods of turbulence.

"This is a period of turbulence, it will pass."