Saturday 21 October 2017

'I don't think anybody will follow us down this route' - David Davis in Brexit admission

UK Brexit Secretary David Davis Photo: Bloomberg
UK Brexit Secretary David Davis Photo: Bloomberg

Jon Stone

No other countries are likely to follow Britain in leaving the European Union, the Brexit Secretary has said.

David Davis said fears from the European Commission that Brexit would start a domino effect of states leaving the union were “without foundation”.

He argued that Britain was “a very different country” to the rest of the EU and suggested that the UK had decided to leave because of its unique “global reach”.

His comments are at odds with the views of some high-profile Brexit supporters, including US president Donald Trump, who said other countries would be “smart” to follow the UK towards the exit door.

“At the beginning [of the negotiations] you’ll remember we had a slightly difficult month of two where there were talks of punishment and Lord knows what else,” Mr Davis told the European Union Select Committee.

“That was, I think, mostly an emotional response but not entirely. The bit that was not entirely an emotional response was the feeling amongst some members of the Commission in particular that they didn’t want to allow us to appear to profit from this decision in case it was an incentive for somebody else.

“I’ve always viewed that as a fear without foundation. I don’t think anybody is likely to follow us down this route, we’re a very different country. The nearest to us, I guess, in terms of global reach is probably France. It’s not going to bail out of Europe. So I think that fear as resiled a bit.

“However there are no doubt some members of the Commission who probably would like this to be a difficult process for us. But against that you have got 27 member states who have been very, very disciplined about maintaining the line, staying within the solidarity of the 27 but who do have their own strong interests.”

Weeks ahead of the EU referendum Nigel Farage said Brexit would be the “first domino” in the disintegration of the bloc.

“We will trigger a domino effect. After us, other northern European countries will leave, starting with Denmark,” he said.

“The EU is about to collapse, disintegrating in several pieces.”

Most international polls since the EU referendum result have showed a significant rise in support for remaining in the EU from citizens of other member states.

Independent News Service

Also in Business