David Davis moves to downplay 'arguments' between British ministers over Brexit

The UK's Brexit Secretary conceded there were different views on the "tactics" of quitting the EU

David Davis moves to downplay 'arguments' between British ministers over Brexit

David Davis. Picture by: Ian Forsyth/PA Wire/PA Images

The UK's Brexit Secretary has conceded there are "arguments" between British cabinet ministers about Brexit, but also moved to downplay divisions.

David Davis denied there was a split between the most senior ministers, but conceded there were different views on the "tactics" of quitting the EU.

He said they were all united by the determination to see through a Brexit "that serves the British economy and the British people".

Speaking after British Chancellor Philip Hammond sparked anger from some Eurosceptics for saying the UK and EU economies would diverge "very modestly", Mr Davies said that would only apply during the transition period.

"At the beginning, when we're out there will be very, very little difference between the standards that apply to our country and the continent of Europe," he announced in a speech in Middlesbrough.

"There is no difference between the Chancellor and myself and indeed the Prime Minister in terms of the fact we both want a Brexit that serves the British economy and the British people.

"There will be arguments about the tactics but they will change, the options available to them will change throughout the negotiations as we see what our European interlocutors want."

Pressed again on the reports of a cabinet split, Mr Davies said: "I'm in politics. People debate. There's a diversity of views on this subject in all parties.

"That doesn't mean we can't have a coherent or forceful view in the interests of the UK that we will make work when we talk to opposite numbers across the channel."

Mr Davis gave the speech to reveal the UK's stance on an "implementation period" - expected to last around 18 to 24 months after the UK officially leaves the EU in March 2019.

He suggested the acceptance of a Brussels red line - that free movement must continue until the period ends - saying a "registration scheme" for new EU arrivals after 2019 "will have no bearing on people's right to work or live".

And Mr Davis accepted that the UK will still be subject to new EU laws created before the divorce date.

He said it was important that Britain "has the means" to voice its disquiet at proposed laws it does not like but will be unable to vote on or officially influence.

Responding to some calls to extend Article 50 to delay the official Brexit date if negotiations are not complete by March 2019, Mr Davis added that this "would not solve" many of the problems.

That would only "create new uncertainty about when we will leave", he said.