David Davis blasts the EU's "illogical" stance on Brexit negotiations

 
Mark Sands
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The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

Brexit secretary David Davis has branded the EU's refusal to hold simultaneous divorce talks and trade negotiations as "illogical", and risked a new row over protections for the rights of European nationals.

EU leaders have repeatedly insisted that the UK must complete an initial phase of dialogue before debate can be opened on a future trading relationship, raising the difficulty of reaching a deal before the end of the two-year Article 50 process.

Earlier this month, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the second part of talks could begin as soon as the autumn. But speaking on ITV's Peston on Sunday Davis today signalled the government is still hoping to change the plan.

Read More: Meet the four men in charge of the EU’s Brexit negotiations

Asked about the EU's stance that the two sides should first make progress on citizens' rights, the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and a financial settlement before starting discussions on a future relationship, Davis said the sequencing was "illogical".

"How on earth do you resolve the issue of the border with Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland unless you know what our general borders policy is, what the customs agreement is, what the free trade agreement is, whether you need to charge tariffs at the border or not?" he said.

"You can't decide one without the other, it's wholly illogical... That will be the row of the summer."

Davis also said he would fight against allowing the European Court of Justice to oversee the rights of EU citizens living after Brexit.

"There will be arguments over fine detail ... like whether the European Court of Justice oversees these rights after we've left," he said.

"We'll have an argument about that ... The simple truth is that we are leaving, we are going to be outside the reach of the European court."

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