David Davis has rejected the two-week deadline that was set by the chief European Union Brexit negotiator for the United Kingdom setting out how it will be able to meet its financial obligations.
In an interview, the Brexit Secretary laughed when he was asked regarding the deadline that was set out by Michel Barnier on Friday.
He said that the real deadline was in December and warned the European Union not to anticipate a figure or a formula by which the obligations of the United Kingdom would be calculated.
It arrives after the latest round of Brexit talks once again failed to produce substantial progress towards the completion of negotiations regarding withdrawal issues which includes the divorce bill
Barnier indicated that the United Kingdom would have to set out a commitment more clearly within two weeks, or it would not be likely to advance talks on to transition and trade at the December European Council.
However, when asked regarding the deadline on Sunday with Paterson of Sky News, Davis stated: “In every negotiation, each side tries to control the timetable. The real deadline on this, of course, is December. It’s the December council.
“Your viewers are all taxpayers I suspect, one way or another, and they would not want me to just come along and give away billions of pounds.
“So we are being very, very careful and it’s taking time, and we will take our time to get to the right answer.”
If Prime Minister Theresa May fails to secure an agreement in December from European national leaders to advance talks on, it could largely delay the already tight schedule of discussions and even possibly destabilise her administration.
Theresa May is under extreme pressure from Tory Eurosceptics to walk away from the discussion if the European Union does not allow progress to be made before Christmas.
However, Davis clarified what his European Union counterpart should not expect, when asked regarding whether the United Kingdom would be able to obtain “sufficient progress” on the divorce bill in order to advance talks.
Davis stated: “They invented this phrase ‘sufficient progress,’ right? It’s in their control what it really is.
“But one of the reasons they did that is because we said ‘alright, we’ll do this sequencing, but don’t imagine you’ll have a number or a formula at the end of it. We’ll get towards that process, but you won’t have a number or a formula before we move on to the next stage’.
“They accepted that, so it’s not to be expected that someone is going to come along and say here is an extra £5bn or whatever.”
At the end of the most recent round of Brexit talks, Barnier was asked whether the United Kingdom only had two weeks to make progress before the December Council meeting, to which he simply responded: “My answer is yes.”