David Davis and the Row of the Summer, Mark 2

13th April 2018

A day or so ago the news seemed dramatic: David Davis had “won a battle”.

The substance of the article was that Davis was, in effect, setting up “Row of the Summer Mark 2”.

You will remember that last year Davis announced that the sequencing of the Brexit negotiations were going to be the “row of the summer”.

As it happened, the UK surrendered on the sequencing point on the first day of the negotiations – and it was not even midsummer’s day.


And now Davis is insisting again there will be another dramatic win for UK in negotiations – that the UK will force the EU to open up trade negotiations.

But, in fact, he is again reliant on the EU giving in.

And today?

This one did not even last three days.



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11 thoughts on “David Davis and the Row of the Summer, Mark 2”

  1. I found it amusing when you read below all the “Davis wins battle!” headlines you found out the “battle” was against his own department. Isn’t he meant to be in charge?

  2. Trades unionists sometimes go into negotiation with demands that are certain to be rejected. They can then use the narrative of “intransigent bosses” to deepen the resolve and militancy of their supporters.

  3. The relatively arbitrary nature of the timetable set out by Art 50(3) is in nobody’s interests. It really ought to be extended to allow a more sensible timetable to be agreed.

    Currently any Withdrawal Agreement cannot properly take into account the framework for our future relationship with the EU if the nature of our trading arrangements (a fundamental part of that future relationship) have not been largely resolved let alone the subject of meaningful discussion.

    1. Extension is eminently sensible but it seems the government wants to prioritise leaving at the earliest possible opportunity. It is time for Parliament to Tack Back Control 😁

  4. Oh Lord, it’s all so dire. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. The UK’s negotiators needed to go in firstly with some humility and secondly with the idea that the result must be a win for both sides. Instead we got ridiculous posturing from arrogant know-nothings – I’m really quite astounded at the patience of Barnier et al in dealing with the British side.

    1. Davis keeps on putting out these challenges to the EU and then surrendering immediately because, of course, Article 50 and the 27’s united front give them effective control of the process. Strangely though he fails to take the initiative where he might perhaps make a difference. As has been pointed out by others the UK has chosen to negotiate with speeches and press releases, leaving it to the EU to produce substantive documents. Why did Davis not, as he said he would, come forward with a draft legal text for the fall-back position on the Irish border? Instead the UK govt. let the EU do it, then said the result was unacceptable – but it’s the EU text that is now the starting point for negotiations. It’s a quite extraordinary way to carry on.

  5. I find astonishing that so many Telegraph posters do not understand why the EU negotiators see no point in putting huge resources over a short time when the UK still has no stated policy objective for the FTA other than a wish list which ignores the EU’s known treaty principles which are outside the terms of reference for the EU negotiators. If both sides are still at this position, 3 or 4 more years of negotiation may have to be expended to enable a start of a negotiation from some basis of understanding of what could be included and what is not, and why.

  6. Surely there is a guide somewhere in the British system as to how the Brussels system works. For the hundreds of British officials to be occupied there would have to be hundreds of Commission officials to negotiate with and hundreds of officials from the 27 to watch them not to mention detailed negotiating briefs in place. At present there is just a general statement of intent on future economic relations hobbled by a couple of ancient imperial legacies. What would the officials do? Storm the Commission? All this was on the cards when the UK set the process off by invoking Article 50 and this setting the timetable.

  7. The EU is sticking to the spirit of Article 50. I don’t remember the exact words, but the best that it offers is agreement to an outline of the future trading relationship. The EU has made the basis of that relationship clear so many times that even Mr Davis must have got the message: Either an EEA relationship with SM membership, or if the UK insists on its (foolishly rigid) red lines, a Canada relationship. As a future third nation, the UK isn’t going to get a better deal than any other third nation. We made our own bed, and we will have to get used to lying in it.

  8. Remind me again when the vote was held and when the article 50 notification was delivered? And now, with less than a year to go until the notification period expires – and, realistically, about six months before we need concrete proposals that start the processes to be ratified by the EU council and parliament, and national and regional governments and legislatures, etc. – David Davis realizes we need to devote some resource to the problem?

    I wonder how many civil servants are actually working on the issue, and how many are drafting press releases? (There must be a joke there – how many people does to take to negotiate a free trade agreement? One politician to sit at the table, and 99 civil servants to mislead the press about what is or isn’t happening.)

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