EU Exit Negotiations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:40 pm on 5th December 2017.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 12:40 pm, 5th December 2017

My right hon. Friend makes his point well. I have already confirmed that the integrity of the United Kingdom comes first. That is why we have adopted the strategy of saying that the issue of maintaining a free border—an open border; a frictionless border—is best dealt with in the next phase: phase 2. Indeed, that is not just my view, but the view of the Taoiseach, who said on 20 August:

“I think the suggestion that” has been made

“to a certain extent, is common sense. If we are able to have a trade agreement between the EU and UK then of course it will be much easier to sort out issues around any border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.”

I have suddenly realised that Keir Starmer has also said the same thing: “To be fair to David Davis, he is right on issues like Northern Ireland. There is only so far you can get before you move to the next phase.”