David Davis tells MPs: Final Brexit vote won't overturn referendum

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David Davis has told MPs they will not be able to use their vote on the final Brexit deal to thwart the results of the referendum. 

During a tense back-and-forth with MPs of the European Scrutiny Committee the Brexit secretary repeatedly refused to answer what would happen if parliament voted down the final deal. Eventually he said: "I don't view a meaningful vote as overruling the referendum if that's what you mean".

Previously Labour MPs have told City A.M. they plan to vote down the deal regardless of the result, in the hope of prompting a second referendum.

In the same hearing he dismissed claims by Bristol North West MP Darren Jones that Airbus was "considering their place in the UK", potentially putting up to 100,000 jobs at risk. Davis said he had met with Airbus and did not recognise the position as Jones had expressed it.

Davis went on to echo Cabinet colleague Philip Hammond over the question of no deal planning.

He told the committee that the government would not "stand down" preparations for such a scenario once a transition deal is struck, noting that it is "always possible" that the deal will "come apart" towards the end of the process. 

Yesterday Hammond said no deal planning would continue until the end of transition "as a contingency".

Davis was also asked about the government's thinking on the Irish border, which resurfaced as a political hot potato last week after Brussels' explosive suggestion that Northern Ireland remain in the EU's customs union. 

He pointed to the report mentioned by Theresa May yesterday as presenting possible solutions, although stressed he did not agree with the whole report.

He noted that the Irish border was currently "for all intents and purposes invisible and we would intend to keep that same standard".