The European Union has said it is “surprised” David Davis complained the bloc is planning for a no-deal Brexit.
The Brexit Secretary sent a letter to Theresa May last month saying he would urge the EU to drop measures and guidance which could require UK companies to relocate to Europe or risk contracts being terminated if a Brexit deal is not struck.
Margaritis Schinas, European Commission chief spokesman, said: “We are somehow surprised that the United Kingdom is surprised that we are preparing for a scenario announced by the UK Government itself.
“After all, it was Prime Minister May herself who said in her Lancaster House speech in January 2017, and repeated in her Florence speech in September, that ‘no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain, it is right that the Government should prepare for every eventuality’.
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“So we take these words by the Prime Minister very seriously and it is therefore only natural that in this house we also prepare for every eventuality.”
Mr Davis told the Prime Minister the EU’s approach “is frequently damaging to UK interests”, according to extracts published by the Financial Times.
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He wrote that EU agencies have issued guidance to businesses stating the UK will become a “third country” after Brexit.
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The Brexit Secretary, who kept his job in Monday’s reshuffle, warned the EU’s current stance amounted to “potential breaches of the UK’s rights as a member state”.
However, Mr Davis said a legal challenge would be lengthy and high-risk, according to advisers.
Mr Schinas said the EU does not “feel there is anything new for us to say” with regards to a transition period or trade deal “since this is part of the next stage of the negotiation”.
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He denied the EU’s plans breached Britain’s rights.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Mr Davis’ “moaning” was “extraordinary” because the Government has set aside £3.7bn in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal.