Brexit: David Davis consults lawyers over EU preparations for no deal
David Davis has privately suggested that EU preparations for a âno dealâ Brexit are âdamagingâ UK interests and spooking British businesses into moving abroad.
A leaked letter penned by the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU shows he has consulted government lawyers about European Commission âmeasuresâ which he believes could breach UK rights as a member state and put Britain at a disadvantage.
The warning comes despite the British government implicitly threatening a âno dealâ scenario itself to extract concessions from Brussels, with Theresa May having said that âno deal is better than a bad dealâ.
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Mr Davis said there were âa growing number of instances where the UK is treated differently by EU institutions before we leave the EUâ and that this was âfrequently damaging for UK interestsâ.
âThe EU has adopted a number of measures that put agreements or contracts are risk of being terminated in the event of a âno dealâ scenario and/or would require UK companies to relocate to another member state,â he states.
Mr Davis cited Commission advice to businesses that they might have to do certain things â" such as regulatory compliance â" within EU borders after Brexit. He insisted that this was not certain because of the possibility of negotiating a positive future relationship.
The minister however admitted that âchances of a successful legal challenge against the measures taken so far are lowâ and that there would be a âhigh risk politically and financiallyâ to taking the EU to court.The letter send from David Davis to the PM (DexEU)
In the letter, addressed to Theresa May, Mr Davis pledged to launch a counter-offensive to reassure UK businesses and also âpress our case with the Commissionâ, including Michel Barnierâs negotiating team.
The missive, first obtained by the Financial Times, was also sent to Sir Jeremy Heywood, the UKâs top civil servant; Sir Tim Barrow, the UKâs ambassador in Brussels; Oliver Robbins, Downing Streetâs Brexit chief; and Philip Rycroft, the top civil servant at DExEU.
The Government has itself not shied away from the prospect of a no deal. Other than Ms Mayâs endorsement of the plan as a fall-back, there are reports that the Government is set to appoint a dedicated âminister for no dealâ â" though the post has as yet failed to formally materialise in this weekâs reshuffl e.
Both the UK and EU however say they believe a deal can be struck, especially following progress on separation issues in December.Mr Davis believes Michel Barnier, Europe's chief Brexit negotiator, has instigated the EU action (EPA)
Reacting to the letter on Tuesday, a European Commission spokesperson said: âWe in the European Commission are surprised that the United Kingdom is surprised that we are preparing for a scenario announced by the UK government itself.
âAfter all it was Prime Minister May herself who said in her Lancaster House speech in January 2017 and repeated in her Florence speech in September that, and I quote: âNo deal for briton is better than a bad deal for Britain. It is right that the government should prepare for every eventua lity.â
âWe take these words by the Prime Minister very seriously and it is therefore only natural that in this house we also prepare for every eventuality.â
World news in pictures
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World news in pictures
1/45 9 January 2018
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2/45 8 January 2018
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3/45 7 January 2018
French President Emmanuel Macron observes a minute of silence in front of the plaque commemorating late police officer Ahmed Merabet to mark the third anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, in Paris
4/45 6 January 2018
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5/45 5 January 2018
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6/45 4 January 2018
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7/45 3 January 2018
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8/45 2 January 2018
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9/45 1 January 2018
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10/45 31 December 2017
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11/45 30 December 2017
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12/45 29 December 2017
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13/45 28 December 2017
Afghan women mourn inside a hospital compound after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan
14/45 27 December 2017
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15/45 26 December 2017
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16/45 25 December 2017
Members of ice swimming club "Berliner Seehunde" (Berlin Seals) take a dip in the Orankesee lake in Berlin as part of their traditional Christmas ice swimming session, in Berlin, Germany
17/45 24 December 2017
Mourners carry the body of 19-year-old Mohamed Sami al-Dahdouh, a Palestinian youth from Jabalia who was killed in clashes with Israeli forces east of Gaza City
18/45 23 December 2017
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19/45 22 December 2017
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20/45 21 December 2017
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21/45 20 December 2017
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22/45 19 December 2017
South Korean and U.S. Marines take part in a winter military drill in Pyeongchang, South Korea
23/45 18 December 2017
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24/45 17 December 2017
Members of the International Space Station expedition 54/55, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (C), NASA astronaut Scott Tingle (R) and Norishige Kanai (L) of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) during the send-off ceremony after checking their space suits before the launch of the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft at the Baikonur cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan
25/45 16 December 2017
The former wife of the late South African President Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela (R), and the candidate for the African National Congress presidency and ex-wife of the incumbent South African president, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma greet each other as they attend the 54th ANC National Conference at the NASRE C Expo Centre in Johannesburg on December 16, 2017. Thousands of delegates from South Africa's ANC party gathered on December 16, 2017 for a five-day meeting to elect their new leader in a divisive race seen as a pivotal moment in the country's post-apartheid history. he winner will be well placed to be the next president, but the ANC has lost much popularity since Nelson Mandela led it to power in the euphoric 1994 election that marked the end of white-minority rule.
26/45 15 December 2017
Palestinian protesters wave the national flag during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border fence with Israel, east of Gaza City as demonstrations continue over US President Donald Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital
27/45 14 December 2017
Hamas supporters take part in a rally marking the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Islamist movement, in Gaza City
28/45 13 December 2017
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29/45 12 December 2017
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men gather during the funeral ceremony of prominent spiritual leader Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman, who died on Tuesday at the age of 104, in Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv, Isr ael.
30/45 11 December 2017
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31/45 10 December 2017
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32/45 9 December 2017
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33/45 8 December 2017
A Palestinian protester uses a sling to hurl stones towards Israeli troops
34/45 7 December 2017
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35/45 6 December 2017
Palestinians burn an Israeli and a U.S. flag during a protest against the U.S. intention to move its embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize the city of Jerusalem as th e capital of Israel, in Gaza City
36/45 5 December 2017
Former Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, flashes a victory sign after he was freed by his supporters in Kiev
37/45 4 December 2017
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38/45 3 December 2017
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39/45 2 December 2017
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40/45 1 December 2017
A nurse takes blood for a HIV test for French President Emmanuel Macron as he visits the Delafontaine Hospital on World Aids Day
41/45 30 November 2017
An activist pours gasoline as an effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte and U.S. President Donald Trump burns during a protest action against Duterte's plan to set up a Revolutionary Government, along a street in metro Manila, Philippines
42/45 29 November 2017
South Korea's Hyunmoo II missile is fired during an exercise at an undefined location in the east coast of South Korea
43/45 28 November 2017
People fall as police fire tear gas to try control the crowd trying to force their way into Kasarani Stadium to attend the inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi
44/45 27 November 2017
Rohingya refugee Amina Khatun, 55, rests at the bank of the Naf river after crossing it on an improvised raft to reach Bangladesh, in Teknaf. Two of her sons were killed by gun fire when her village was attacked by Myanmar military, she says
45/45 26 November 2017
Mount Agung volcano is seen spewing smoke and ash in Bali
There are no dates yet scheduled for future set-piece talks this year; both sides hope to agree details of a transition period before March, where they will then hope to move to talks on the framework for trade and the future relationship.
T he EU is insisting that the deal be wrapped up by October to give the European Parliament and other bodies time to scrutinise, formalise, and approve the deal in time for the UKâs departure under Article 50 in March 2019.
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