Friday 28 July 2017

Davis 'not 100pc sure' of UK agreeing deal with EU

British Brexit Secretary David Davis appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show yesterday. Picture: PA
British Brexit Secretary David Davis appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show yesterday. Picture: PA

Shaun Connolly

UK Brexit Secretary David Davis has said he is not certain his country will secure an EU withdrawal deal.

Mr Davis said he was "pretty sure" an agreement could be struck, but left the door open to leaving the bloc without one.

The Brexit secretary said that no deal "would be better than a punishment deal".

The remarks come after Chancellor Philip Hammond said that no deal would be "very, very bad" for the UK.

Asked if he was sure there would be a deal cut, Mr Davis told the BBC's 'Andrew Marr Show': "I'm pretty sure, I am not 100pc sure, you can never be, it's a negotiation.

"I'm sure there will be a deal, whether it's the deal I want, which is a free trade agreement, the customs agreement, and so on, I'm pretty sure, but I'm not certain."

Mr Davis said part of his portfolio was planning for a bad outcome.

He said: "We cannot have a circumstance where the other side says it is going to punish you. So, if that happens then there is a walkaway, and we have to plan for that."

Asked if he agreed with the chancellor that no deal would be very, very bad, Mr Davis said: "It would be better than a punishment deal."

Mr Davis said Britain would need transitional trade arrangements with the EU for a time after Brexit.

He said: "We think there will be a transitional period, not that long. I think one to two years is more likely."

Mr Davis said government plans for dealing with the status of the 3.2 million EU nationals in the UK would give them "effectively British citizenship rights".

Meanwhile, DUP leader Arlene Foster said her party was close to sealing a historic deal with the Tories as she prepared to meet the Prime Minister for talks at Westminster today.

Negotiations between Sinn Féin and the DUP continued in Belfast over the weekend but no progress will be possible before details of any DUP-Conservative deal are published.

Irish Independent

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