Britain inched closer to pressing the Brexit button with the secretary of state charged with managing the departure from the European Union attempting to explain the process in parliament.
David Davis planned to keep MPs posted about how his work was progressing, but faced accusations of failing to deliver enough detail after he spoke in Westminster.
He laid out the principles of the negotiations and tried not to reveal the government’s negotiation hand in his statement.
Progress so far
What Davies did say could be broken down into a few short points:
- Brexit means Brexit – The government intends to push forward with leaving the EU and does not anticipate any legal dilly-dallying or looking for loopholes to slow the process
- The single market – The main worry of The City and business is losing access to the single market within the EU.
Davies clearly explained that if access to the single market depended on Britain giving up border controls, then that would be a step too far and is ‘improbable’
- Scotland will have no veto on the negotiations – Any talks would be on behalf of the entire country and not just parts of the nation
- Immigration controls – The government is devising a new solution that is likely to demand EU nationals have a job offer before coming to the UK but protects the rights of those already here and those of British expats in the EU
“We are seeking a unique to Britain rather than an off-the-shelf solution with Europe,” he said.
Cries of ‘Waffle’
“This must mean controls on the numbers of people who come to Britain from Europe – but also a positive outcome for those who wish to trade in goods and services.”
Davies also explained that the negotiations were aimed at Britain regaining control of making laws, raising taxes and who crosses the country’s borders.
“Britain could be a beacon for free trade across the world and a more glorious country with an immigration system that controlled the numbers but also encouraged the brightest and best to come,” he said.
His statement was met by cries of ‘That’s it?’ and ‘Waffle’ in the House of Commons.