It was only a matter of time before David Davis’ contempt for detail caught up with him.
In the latest of a long line of gaffes, the Brexit Secretary caused a diplomatic crisis on Sunday by declaring the Brexit deal a mere “statement of intent”.
He tried to blame the Times newspaper yesterday, claiming they had “twisted” his words – but the EU side aren’t buying his excuse.
Today, five groups in the European Parliament tabled an amendment to their motion on Brexit talks which singles Davis’ comments out, saying they “risk to undermine the good faith that has been built during negotiations”.
— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) December 12, 2017
Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, called Davis’ comments an “own goal” for Britain. He said:
“In our opinion that is really undermining the trust that is necessary in such negotiations…I have seen a hardening of the position by the Council and there will be a hardening of position by the Parliament.”
Manfred Weber, the leader of the European Parliament’s largest group, said:
“What we have heard from London in the last days and hours is exactly the opposite of what I would say is building up trust…Now we hear from London that everything is only paper.
“…The Government in the UK doesn’t seem to have a clear line. We have from Mr Davis and we hear from Mrs May and it’s not clear whom we should trust.”
And the strongest language came from Green group co-leader Philipe Lamberts, a member of the Parliament’s Brexit steering committee. He said:
“How can Britain be taken seriously globally if it behaves like a gangster in its international relationships. If you give a political commitment and then say ‘well, that was just for theatre’, then of course you cannot be taken seriously.
“I think we built up a degree of trust between the EU 27 and the British Government and the kind of declaration that David Davis has made is undermining that trust.”
It’s pretty clear Davis’ attempt to get a deal by playing the likeable fool isn’t impressing anyone in Brussels.
Maybe it’s time to send someone ‘clever’…