The EU is planning to use time as a way of pressuring Britain into agreeing less beneficial exit terms, the Brexit secretary said today.
David Davis told parliamentarians the two sides had "very different positions" over the divorce Bill, but insisted progress was being made- albeit to laughter from his colleagues.
Davis said: "We have been clear that the UK and EU will have financial obligations to each other that will survive our exit from the European Union. In July, the Commission set out the EU's position. We have a duty to our tax payers to interrogate that position rigorously, and that's what we did line by line... It's clear that the two sides have very different legal stances. But as we said in the Article 50 letter, the settlement should be in accordance with law and in the spirit of the UK's continues partnership with the EU."
But he was quizzed by MPson both sides of the house, concerned that there is not now enough time to agree trade deals. He dodged questions over the customs union and single market, but said the government was "ready to do anything we can to speed up the process". However his EU counterparts were very "stiff", Davis said.
Just yesterday the Prime Minister's spokeswoman said Theresa May was "ready to intensify" negotiations, amid concerns that too little progress is being made. Reports suggest talks may be ramped up and a group of British negotiators semi-permanently deployed to Brussels so talks can become "continuous".