Sir David Davis comments on ‘concerning’ aspects of Brexit deal to leave UK negotiating for next 5 years


As published in the Sunday Express:

THE Brexit trade deal reached with the European Union will still leave the UK negotiating with Brussels for the next five years, according to David Davis.

The Brexit trade deal came into effect on January 1 after over nine months of trouble negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom. Former Brexit Secretary David Davis warned there are “concerning” aspects of the agreement he has read so far that could see London pushed into further talks until 2026. Speaking to LBC, Mr Davis said: “I’m a bit concerned that, in five and a half years, when we take back control of our fisheries in toto, the Europeans have allowed themselves the right to cancel some of the deal.

“That will put enormous pressure on us not to correct the balance of who does the fishing in our waters to our own interest.

“Things like that you can deal with, there are diplomatic and other methods you can to. But the trouble is, you’ve got to start now. You can’t wake up in five years.”

The British Government agreed to let EU vessels continue fishing into UK waters while the share of fishing quotas is slowly transferred back to British fishermen over the course of the next five years.

Once the transfer period is completed, Brussels and London will then be expected to undergo yearly negotiations to decide how the catch available in UK waters is divided.

Despite his concerns, Mr Davis insisted the agreement reached on Christmas Eve is “pretty good.”

He however warned other questionable aspects may emerge as he admitted he had yet to finish reading the whole trade agreement with the EU.

Mr Davis continued: “The trouble is it is 1,200-pages long and I have to tell you, I haven’t read all of it. It takes a long time to go through a legal document like that.

“So yes, Boris has broadly maintained our control of things or acquired control of our laws and our money.”

He added: “But there will be details in it which worry me and which I’ll bring attention to in the coming years.”

The agreement cleared Parliament on December 30 and was given Royal Assent the following day, just in time for it to be provisionally implemented from the very end of the transition period that began in February 2020.

Members of the European Parliament will also be returning to Brussels later this month but demanded to have additional time to scrutinise the legislation before holding a vote.

An EU diplomat told The Guardian: “EU ambassadors unanimously endorsed a letter to the European Parliament on the intention of EU member states to take a decision on the provisional application of the EU-UK agreement in the coming days.

The letter lays out the necessity of this exceptional step in order to prevent a significant disruption in EU-UK relations with severe consequences for citizens and businesses at the end of the transition period on the 1st of January.

“The provisional application would also allow for proper and full democratic scrutiny of the draft agreement by the European Parliament and the council of member states before its final ratification.

“This decision on the provisional application will be put to a vote in the council in the following days.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has maintained that “substantial sums of money” will be coming back to Britain thanks to Brexit.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme, Mr Johnson said: “For instance, they’ve already got substantial sums of money coming back into this country as a result of leaving the EU. We’ve got control over our borders, a points-based immigration system has already been established.

“And then when it comes to areas in parts of the country that feel that they’ve been left behind, one of the things that you can do, for instance, to say nothing more (of) the regulatory changes you can make, one of the things you can do is have free ports.”