Politics: David Davis caves into EU negotiation demands on first day of Brexit talks



David Davis

Brexit secretary has conceded to the EU's negotiating timetable despite previously saying it would be the "row of the summer".

David Davis concedes that trade talks cannot begin before Brexit divorce talks.

The Brexit secretary had previously insisted that talks over the timetable would be the "row of the summer".

Barnier says UK must face "consequences" of leaving the EU.

UK concession comes after just one day of talks with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

LONDON — The UK government has been forced in to a major climbdown on the first day of Brexit negotiations after being forced to accept the EU's timetable for talks.

The EU had demanded early agreement on the rights of EU nationals living in the UK, the Brexit divorce bill and the Northern Irish border, before any discussions could begin on a trade deal.

The Brexit secretary David Davis had previously rejected this and predicted that it would be the "row of the summer" once negotiations began.

He told ITV last month that it would be "wholly illogical" not to negotiate Britain's future trading relationship with the EU at the same time as negotiating divorce procedures.

However, in a press conference following the first day of Brexit talks, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that he was "not in a frame of mind to make concessions" adding that there would have to be consequences for Britain's decision to leave.

"The United Kingdom has decided to leave the European Union, it is not the other way around," he said.

"The United Kingdom is going to leave the European Union, single market and the customs union, not the other way around. So, we each have to assume our responsibility and the consequences of our decisions. And the consequences are substantial."

Michel Barnier: UK has agreed to our timetable

The UK has now agreed to enter talks on divorce proceedings, including Britain's exit bill and the border with Northern Ireland, before any talks on future trading relations can begin.

When asked why he had capitulated to EU demands, Davis replied that: "It's not when it starts. It's how it's concluded that matters."

"The position we have agreed today is completely consistent with our long-term position."

The two men said they will meet once every month for catch-up talks. Davis also said the UK plans to set out its own negotiating aims for Brexit next Monday.



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