David Davis says the EU is deliberately stalling talks in a bid to get more money from the UK

 
Catherine Neilan
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Could a surprise announcement be planned for Friday? (Source: Getty)

David Davis has accused the EU of deliberately stalling the Brexit talks in a bid to increase the amount the UK will have to pay the bloc.

During an update to the Commons, the Brexit secretary said "They are using time pressure to get more money out of us" he said. "That is what's going on. It's obvious to everybody."

Barnier today returned that diplomatic joust by saying "it takes two to accelerate".

He told reporters: "It is very important to understand that time time passes very quickly, the clock is ticking very fast."

Despite the wrangling over money, Davis also told MPs there could be a surprise announcement from the European Council on Friday, breaking the impasse in Brexit talks, following an 11th hour intervention last night.

Davis hinted that the EU27 leaders could reveal a change in stance on the Brexit talks, responding to one question by cryptically saying: "Let’s just see what the European council comes up with on Friday, shall we?"

In his formal statement, Davis said: "We all have to recognise that we are reaching the limits of what we can achieve without consideration of the future relationship... At the European Council later this week, I hope the leaders of the 27 will recognise the progress made and provide Michel Barnier with the mandate to build on the momentum and spirit of cooperation we now have.

"Doing so, will allow us to best achieve our joint objectives and move towards a deal that works for both the UK and the EU."

Davis was at the dinner held between Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker last night, which resulted in both sides agreeing talks must "accelerate". May will return to Brussels on Thursday for the start of the European Council meeting, before the EU27 leaders discuss whether "sufficient progress" has been made in talks.

If it agrees, that will unlock the second stage of talks, when trade and transition can be discussed, but so far that possibility has been widely talked down by the EU.

During the course of the update, Davis said that for a transition deal to have any value it must be agreed soon, but it will only come into force if there is a final deal in place.

No deal

Davis also insisted he has "never talked up a no deal" while being grilled by MPs on all sides this afternoon.

The Brexit secretary rebuffed questions from Labour, SNP and Green MPs as well as his own Conservative colleagues, insisting that the no deal option was only on the table as a negotiating tactic and as "security".

Keir Starmer, shadow Brexit secretary, said only "fantasists and fanatics" would talk up a no deal, adding that while he welcomed the agreement at last night's dinner to “accelerate” the talks, but pointed out that it didn't mean that much. "If a car is going at 2mph and goes up to 4mph that's still acceleration," he said.

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