In Brief

Brexit: David Davis demands private RAF jets for EU talks

New book says No 10 approves of Brexit Secretary’s high-flying ways

Brexit Secretary David Davis allegedly wastes “tens of thousands of pounds” using a private RAF jet to transport him to talks across Europe, an arrangement approved by Downing Street. 

The Brexit Secretary’s RAF flights to Brussels and other European capitals cost taxpayers five times more than commercial flights, according to Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman, who describes the travel arrangements in his new book Fall Out.

“No 10 gave the go-ahead to the use of private planes after Mr Davis threatened not to undertake the trips otherwise,” The Independent reports, adding that a source close to Davis told the newspaper that the minister did use RAF planes, but that the account in the book was based on “gossip rather than fact”.

Lord Andrew Adonis, a former Labour cabinet minister, tweeted that even as Transport Secretary he didn’t use private jets.

The arrangement is reportedly behind the falling out between Davis and senior civil servant Oliver Robbins, the government’s chief Brexit negotiator, who kept blocking Davis’s flight requests. Robbins has left the Brexit department to work for Theresa May in a new Cabinet Office unit.

17 November

Brexit: Davis says the UK has done most of the compromising in divorce talks

Brexit Secretary David Davis says the UK has offered a number of compromises in Brexit talks but has “not always got them back”.

Many EU countries are eager to move on to discussing trade but talks cannot progress until questions about the UK divorce bill and citizens’ rights are resolved.

“The Brexit secretary said the UK had made concessions on the right of EU citizens to vote in local elections in the UK among other things,” the BBC says. “In a speech in Berlin on Thursday, he warned against ‘putting politics above prosperity’ in Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU.”

BBC politics editor Laura Kuenssberg says the Brexit secretary’s speech implied that the UK had “significant frustrations” with the EU’s attitude. 

Davis didn’t disclose how much the UK will have to pay Brussels to settle the divorce bill, but signs point to Theresa May attempting to break the deadlock by doubling her offer to nearly £40bn, The Guardian reported.

Davis said Germany and other EU countries should beware of harming their own economies by putting their political considerations first.

“I want them to compromise, surprise surprise, nothing comes for nothing in this world,” he told the BBC.

“But so far, in this negotiation, we have made a lot of compromises. On the citizens’ rights front, we have made all the running. We have made the running in terms of the right to vote where the EU does not seem to be able to agree.”

Stephen Gethins, an SNP MP, says Davis and senior cabinet ministers should take their own advice and also compromise in giving Parliament more of a say in Brexit discussions.

“The government must accept that it is the servant and not the master of Parliament,” Gethins wrote in the New Statesman. “Instead of forcing us into a Deal – No Deal game of chicken, allow the House of Commons to work together to challenge, debate and, crucially, amend the Brexit legislation going through the House in the spirit of compromise. This is the only way we can let the country escape the disastrous chaos of this UK government’s Hard Tory Brexit.”

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