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Dispute over customs plan

Davis in quit threat over Northern Ireland border

Davis and Barnier

David Davis with EU negotiator Michel Barnier


Brexit Secretary David Davis was threatening to resign if his demands for a deal on a temporary customs arrangement do not get the support of Downing Street.

Details of terms aimed at avoiding a hard Brexit in Northern Ireland will be thrashed out on Thursday but Mr Davis wants a firm end date to be included in the agreed text.

Downing Street does not believe a contingency plan will ever come into effect because a customs arrangement for Ireland and Northern Ireland could be agreed as part of the overall withdrawal deal.

The UK has said it will leave the EU’s customs union but has yet to agree on what will replace it amid cabinet divisions over the two options being considered by ministers.

Mr Davis is understood to believe that offering a deal without a specified end-date would limit his bargaining power in talks with Brussels to negotiate alternative arrangements for keeping the border open.

Questioned during an event in London, Mr Davis did not rule out resigning if the government’s proposals did not have his explicit approval.

“That’s a question I think for the prime minister, to be honest,” he told reporters after a speech at the Royal United Services Institute.


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