David Davis criticises Home Office’s interpretation
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David Davis has hit out officials negotiating the Brexit deal, saying they did a “cr** job”. The former Brexit secretary said civil servants “sympathised with the European view”, describing the approach as “naive”. In an interview with the Institute for Government, Mr Davis said bureaucrats should take some of the blame for the deadlock.
He said: “Whitehall did a really cr** job of negotiation – I mean, really cr**.”
“I think it’s partly because they sympathised with the European view and assumed that was reciprocated. It wasn’t.
“You know, if you feel the person on the other side of the table is a nice person, and you really understand their point of view, there is a tendency to think that they’ll be friendly to you – which is naïve on a grand scale.”
While Mr Davis voiced frustration that the problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol have not yet been solved, he maintains faith that Brexit will eventually “deliver”.
Mr Davis also said then-prime minister Theresa May, who resigned after she failed to get support for her Brexit deal, was a “very good person and in different circumstances, she would’ve been a very good Prime Minister”.
He added: “It’s a pity she’s not Prime Minister now because she would’ve been perfect for now.
“It’s not that she can’t cope with crises, she can.
“But the problem was she was a Remainer trying to carry out a Brexit thing, and there’s a sort of intuitive understanding that you just can’t get by reading a book.”
The former Brexit secretary’s criticisms of the Brexit negotiations come three years after the UK’s exit from the European Union.
But Mr Davis’ successor and former chief negotiator, Lord Frost, stood by Brexit.
Last week, he hailed the benefits of the UK’s exit from the EU on the anniversary of the milestone, saying: “As expected, all those who opposed our exit from the EU are out in force this morning trying to tell us it was a bad decision. Let’s look at why they are wrong.”
Writing on Twitter, he added: “They seem to have forgotten how things were before 2016 – not just the obvious disagreement about the EU’s goals, but the endless arguments, the constant need to block rules against our interests, the huge diversion of diplomatic effort.
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“They also forget that our slowest growth for decades, and our worst productivity, came in this final period when we were most closely integrated with the single market and had the highest sustained immigration ever.
“Why would returning to those things make anything better?”
Lord Frost also listed 12 achievements which he said were made possible by Brexit, including opening up free ports, reforming financial services, making the UK a “centre for scientific research” in gene editing, putting in place a new immigration system, scrapping the common agricultural policy and introducing a scheme that “suits UK farmers”, changing our subsidy rules to make them “less bureaucratic” and introducing VAT reductions which would be “illegal under EU law”.
He also noted the UK’s ability to make changes to alcohol duty which he said would have been illegal under EU law, “increasing UK fishing in our own waters”, “banning environmentally damaging EU fishing practices” and putting in place new free trade agreements.
Looking ahead, he also noted that the UK is about to “stop paying £10-15billion a year into EU coffers”
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