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Davis says no need to be clever to do his job. He sure isn’t

by Luke Lythgoe | 12.12.2017

Just days after clinching a deal on the first phase of Brexit talks, David Davis’ interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr has already angered the EU and set back trade talks until March. He’s certainly proving his point that you “don’t have to be very clever” to do his job.

Yesterday the Brexit secretary told LBC’s Nick Ferrari: “What’s a requirement of my job? I don’t have to be very clever, I don’t have to know that much, I do just have to be calm.”

But Davis should have been more savvy during his Sunday encounter with Marr, when he insisted that Friday’s agreement was “much more a statement of intent than it was a legally enforceable thing”.

The European Parliament has already amended a draft resolution on the deal, saying Davis’ comments “undermine the good faith” built in the negotiations. What’s more, the parliament – which can veto the final Brexit deal – now insists that last Friday’s deal must be “fully translated” into the eventual Withdrawal Agreement to ensure the UK “respects the commitments” it has made.

Guy Verhofstadt, the parliament’s Brexit coordinator, said Davis had scored “an own goal”.

Meanwhile, EU countries have toughened their stance ahead of this week’s European Council. Draft guidelines on the next phase of the talks have been made “Davis-proof”, a senior EU official told the FT. Gone is a suggestion that “preliminary and preparatory” discussions on trade can begin early next year. The text now says trade talks will only begin after EU governments agree additional guidance for the talks between themselves. This will only be adopted in March.

The situation Davis has landed the government in is most likely a result of playing to the Brextremist gallery on the Tory backbenches. It’s further proof that, even when they seem to be making a little headway, May and her ministers continue to botch Brexit.

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Edited by Hugo Dixon

9 Responses to “Davis says no need to be clever to do his job. He sure isn’t”

  • David Davis is not fit to conduct these negotiations. He makes one deliberate gaffe after another. He should be sacked before he further damages the UK’s interests

  • Davis; what a sad symbol of how Britain’s once respected political acumen has vaporised. After the saga with the 58 reports he should have had the sense to quietly retire and go playing golf all day.

  • I’m no fan of David Davis, nor his Brexit colleagues, but could it be that he only played the “useful idiot” in a piece of political drama ?

    that may sound conspiratorial, but it seems to me that last friday’s agreement was mostly a face-saving deal to keep May in charge (in Britain, no more), while trying to edge Britain towards a soft Brexit a-la-Norway.
    first we had those “exploratory trade talks” back in late october as a “reward” for the Florence speech, that didn’t amount to much in pratical terms.
    next we had those “ultimatums” from late november to last week, where Britain (read May and David Davis) had to provide practical commitments to their rhetoric, so that the European Council meeting this friday could say that phase 1 of negotiations was “satisfactory”

    … May and her colleagues seemed to be pretty desesperate to get that “satisfactory” assessment in the bag. so much so, that they pretty much end up capitulating on every matters of importance, with some crumbs being offered as a political face-saving gift.
    and now, less than a few days AFTER the deal, but BEFORE the crunch European Council meeting, we’ve got both Davis and May reneging on their commitments and casting doubts about the enforceability of the deal.
    I know that they are both quite “thick as mince”, and very much playing to the Brexit gallery of idiots and jingos, but still ….

    the EU 27 seem to have gone quite willingly to play with the charade, nudging May’s cabinet just enough towards their prefered outcomes, while knowing full well that May still hasn’t committed herself really to much yet, and therefore need to be kept on a tight leash … henceforth all the pretending of “negotiation progress” and the (non-) dramas of the past several weeks.

    anyway … only time will tell
    as a continental european, I’m still bewildered that such a group of walking catastrophic morons can be allowed to stay in power, without nobody going into the street every week to protest and besiege the entrance doors of number 10/Westminster

  • Little wonder an increasing number of Brexiters have no faith in getting the type of Brexit they thought they voted for. Esp. with buffoons such as Davis having such a cavalier approach to a the most important decision taken ny this country in decades. Davis is taking the public, esp. leave voters for total mugs.

  • “May and her ministers continue to botch Brexit”.

    Not botching Brexit, i.e. doing it efficiently, would be worse of course.

  • Lets see…

    were leaving the countries that developed Mozart, JS Bach, Debussy, Victor Hugo, Voltaire to be left with Ian Duncan Smith David Davies, Michael Gove

  • Watching the performance of Davis is like a group of parents applauding the efforts of a drunken driver staggering towards a school bus full of our children to take them where and how?

    Beyond belief….

  • Davis is a self-confessed liar, and now he is also a self-confessed dimwit. I find it utterly unbelievable that such third-rate people are in positions of power.

  • In order that clauses of the EU agreement are Davis-proof all they have to do is write them in “excruciating detail”. He prefers short words, bullet points, and executive summaries…not that he is an executive in any sense of the word. Just a dimwit who bubbled up through the Tory trough to lead the retreat.