‘Start again’ on Brexit, David Davis tells Theresa May

Posted On: 
22nd July 2018

David Davis has called on Theresa May to “start again” over Brexit, as the former Cabinet minister insisted it would not be “the end of the world” if Britain leaves the EU empty-handed.

David Davis resigned from the Government over the Chequers agreement
Credit: 
PA Images

Speaking to the Sunday Express, the former Brexit Secretary called on the Prime Minister to “reset” her Chequers vision for leaving the EU and urged her not to offer “something else on top” to Brussels.

The senior Tory described the Chequers agreement as “trapping Britain’s fingers in the mantle” and argued the EU would agree to a better deal as it comes under pressure from member states later this year.

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“We’re going to have to do a reset and come back and look at it all again. What we mustn’t do is leave everything on the table and offer something else on top,” he said.

“One of the traditional tactics of the EU is to say: ‘OK, but not enough’ and pocket what they’ve already been given. We can’t allow that. We’ll have to say: ‘Sorry, if that deal’s not enough then it’s no longer available’.

“I think when we get to the autumn, if we are in the situation where we don’t have any degree of agreement, we’re going to have to start again.”

When asked if it was too late to save Brexit, Mr Davis replied: “It’s not too late but we’re going to have to fight very hard from outside to influence the way the Government goes. Through September and October it’s going to be a very high-intensity argument, I think.”

Mr Davis also urged ministers to “accelerate” preparations for a no deal Brexit, arguing Whitehall was not ready for such an outcome.

“By the end of the summer it should be plain we are making proper preparations for this. Frankly if we get to October and it’s not looking good, we should accelerate again – more money, more resources and so on,” he said.

He conceded that a no deal scenario was “not the best outcome”, before adding: “People get terribly frightened about it as if it’s the end of the world – it’s nothing like that”.

And he accused the Treasury of scaremongering over Brexit.

"You’ve got a Whitehall establishment which putting it mildly, is not an enthusiast for the project. And certainly at the Treasury, which believes all these nonsensical forecasts. Project Fear Mark III, I think it is now,” he said.

"The Treasury in total believes this stuff and I don’t. I simply think this is mathematical mumbo-jumbo."

Elsewhere in the interview, Mr Davis described his successor at DExEU Dominic Raab as “his boy” and said he didn’t want another job when asked if he was seeking to be the next Prime Minister.