David Davis reiterated that Britain intends to quit the single market and the customs union, after agreeing a rough outline of the structure of talks between the UK and the EU27 in Brussels.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Davis distanced himself from renewed pleas from British businesses to look at softer versions of Brexit. “We will be leaving the single market,” said Mr Davis.
Instead, Britain will look to reach a free trade agreement and quit the customs union as well, added Mr Davis.
During talks in Brussels, officials from Britain and the EU agreed a timetable that broadly fit with European demands to sequence the talks, with the UK’s future relationship being discussed only after broad settling on citizen rights, Northern Ireland and the financial liabilities.
Mr Davis said that he agreed with the principle that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” – a position also taken by heads of government at the European Council.
When asked whether agreeing this timetable indicated the weakness of Britain’s negotiating position, Mr Davis said: “It is not how it starts but how it ends.”