David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, declared that the EU will do a “massive miscalculation” if it thinks the UK is not able nor ready to get out from the negotiations in Brussels without having a good deal.
The words from Mr Davis followed Liam Fox’s thought that there was a 60-40 chance of a no-deal outcome, because of the “intransigence” of the European negotiators that is pushing the UK towards a no deal.
Mr Davis – who spent months negotiating with Michel Barnier before leaving the office after Theresa May’s Chequers plan – said multiple times that EU member states will be more exposed in case of failure to reach an agreement with the UK.
“This has great scope for being a massive miscalculation on the part of the EU that could end up with a no deal by accident,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “It’s certainly not the intention of the EU to have a no-deal Brexit, but they are misjudging us at the moment. The UK Parliament does not want a no deal, but it’s certainly not going to be pushed around by the European Parliament.”
“I’ve always thought that a no deal is better than a bad deal and while there will be border issues and so on… it would give us more freedom. I’m still of the view that we have got two things on our side – we have got our own currency, and we are masters of our own destiny in a way that EU member countries are not.”
He added: “This is a negotiation and it will go to the edge, but we must not panic about this. They have got lots to lose too, and specific countries and specific sectors have got large amounts to lose. As we get closer to the brink, there will be internal pressure within the EU.”
These remarks were said in the wake of the meeting between the prime minister and French president Emmanuel Macron, for one-on-one talks at his summer retreat and ministers were sent in the entire EU to negotiate with their counterparts, trying to bypass Mr Barnier and the EU commissioners.
Robert Buckland, the solicitor general, declared that the Government surely thinks that the leaders of the 27 EU states will have the opportunity to be more active in the negotiation process.
“The Government’s policy is to get a deal that chimes entirely with what I think is in the best interests of our country,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour. “The reality is that as we get close to the wire, the views of the member states will become more important.”
The UK and EU would like to wrap up the Brexit negotiation rounds by October so that MPs and MEPs will be able to thoroughly analyse it.
Mr Buckland announced though that if it was delayed to November, it would still be possible for both chambers to work on the deal, although he did mention that the Commons’ Christmas break could be shortened.
“The clock is ticking; parliamentary time will be very tight,” he said. “I don’t think that needs to be emergency legislation, I think it can be done on the floor of both Houses, but we are going to have to perhaps look at a few recesses and actually the time that we use in Parliament to make sure that everything is thoroughly debated.”
Labour responded to Dr Fox’s statement that not having a deal with the EU would be a “catastrophic failure of government.” But shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer estimated that Theresa May “reckless red lines” increased the difficulty to reach a deal, along with splits in the Tory ranks and “fantasy Brexiteer promises”.
He noted that Parliament should prevent the UK crashing out without a deal.