Brexit Secretary David Davis says UK wants free access to EU single market

Prime Minister Theresa May has also said the UK wants curbs on migration as part of any deal

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Thursday 01 September 2016 14:06
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David Davis says UK wants free access to EU single market

Brexit Secretary David Davis has said the UK will go into talks with EU states looking for tariff-free access to the single market.

Mr Davis, who will be playing a lead role in negotiations, said it would be in other EU states’ interest to maintain a good relationship with the UK.

It comes after Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed the UK would seek curbs on migration at the same time, something other EU leaders have not viewed favourably.

Mr Davis told reporters on a visit to Northern Ireland: “With respect to access to the single market, what we will seek to do is ideally have a tariff-free access but this is a matter of negotiation.

"We will be negotiating over an issue I suspect is in the interest of other members of the EU and others to get a good trading relationship in the long run.”

After a meeting at Chequers, Ms May’s spokesperson said the deal the UK would seek would have “controls on the numbers of people who come to Britain from Europe, but also a positive outcome for those who wish to trade goods and services.”

European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have said the UK cannot pick and choose the benefits of the EU now that it has voted to leave.

On his visit Mr Davis also promised there would be no return to a “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic when the UK leaves the European Union.

Writing in the Belfast Telegraph on Thursday, Mr Davis said: “We had a common travel area between the UK and the Republic of Ireland many years before either country was a member of the European Union. We are clear we do not want a hard border – no return to the past – and no unnecessary barriers to trade.

“What we will do is deliver a practical solution that will work in everyone’s interests, and I look forward to opening the conversation about how that should operate with my colleagues today.”

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson left the UK on a three-day tour for talks with ministers, starting with a summit in Potsdam near Berlin where he will meet Ukraine foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin, followed by a meeting in Vienna.

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