David Davis Tells EU: ‘The Clock Is Indeed Ticking – But For You Not Us’
Brexit Secretary David Davis (pictured above) has upped the ante ahead of his next round of weekly negotiations with EU Chief Michel Barnier. Mr. Barnier had previously warned the UK that all he could hear ‘was the sound of a clock ticking’ but today Mr. Davis threw the phrase back in the face of the EU boss.
The Secretary of State for Exiting the EU insisted European negotiators were wrong to claim future trade relations could not be discussed until key aspects of Britain’s ‘divorce’ were basically settled.
Mr Davis, who will next week hold his next round of monthly talks with EU Commission chief negotiator Mr Barnier, said:
‘“With the clock ticking, it wouldn’t be in either of our interests to run aspects of the negotiations twice.
‘The early rounds of the negotiations have already demonstrated that many questions around our withdrawal are inextricably linked to our future relationship.’
Mr Davis said it was ‘simply not possible’ to reach a near final agreement on future Irish-Northern Ireland border issues until discussions had begun about a new customs regime for trade. He added:
‘Furthermore, if we get the comprehensive free trade agreement we’re seeking as part of our future partnership, solutions in Northern Ireland are easier to deliver.’
Michel Barnier recently said that there must be enough progress on what Britain should pay to leave, EU citizens’ rights and the Irish Northern Ireland border, before talks could move on to how the UK and Europe will relate in future.
With claims the next stage might be delayed until December, there is concern that not enough time will be left to get new deals agreed and ratified by the deadline of March 2019 for Britain to leave the bloc, the allotted two years after Theresa May launched the formal Brexit negotiations.
Mr Davis borrowed a phrase used by Mr Barnier to state that “with the clock ticking” there was no time or point in negotiating withdrawal and the future separately.
A Whitehall source warned that the EU would be damaging the chances of a smooth Brexit if it delayed trade deal talks beyond October when they are due to start.
Westmonster Dave is the News Editor of Kipper Central.