David Davis, the Secretary of State for Brexit, has denied that the latest round of talks with the EU are in trouble and has confirmed that a deal is near to being agreed. If a deal could be agreed then it would allow the Brexit negotiations to move on to the details of a future trading agreement between the EU and the UK.
Davis said in the Commons today:
“Negotiations regarding our exit from the European Union are on-going as we speak and indeed we are in the middle of an on-going round. We held further talks in Brussels over recent days and progress has been made. We’ve not yet reached a final conclusion. However, I believe that we are now close to concluding the first phase of the negotiations and moving on to talking about our future trade relations”.
Davis also rejected that the Government had offered a different regulatory regime in Northern Ireland, saying:
“The presumption of the discussion was that everything we talked about applied to the whole United Kingdom. Alignment isn’t harmonisation. It isn’t having exactly the same rules. It is sometimes having mutually recognised rules, mutually recognised inspection – that is what we are aiming at”.
Sir Keir Starmer, the Shadow Secretary of State for Brexit, said:
“What an embarrassment – the last 24 hours have given a new meaning to the phrase ‘coalition of chaos'”.
Starmer also suggested that the Labour Party would consider supporting the UK remaining in the single market and the customs union.