David Davis has warned the next round of Brexit negotiations will generate the same “public thunder and lightning” as the first phase of talks with Brussels in 2017.
The Brexit Secretary also used an article to turn the European Union’s negotiating mantra against the bloc, claiming that it cannot “cherry-pick” the terms of a free trade deal.
Britain, he added, wants the “full sweep of economic cooperation” and financial services must not be excluded from any agreement.
But just last month Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said that financial services will not be included a post-Brexit trade deal, setting the stage for a public confrontation between the UK and Brussels.
“There is not a single trade agreement that is open to financial services,” he said in December. “It doesn’t exist.”
In his article for the Daily Telegraph, Mr Davis said that the negotiations in the coming months will “not be straightforward”, adding: “They will generate the same public thunder and lightning we have seen in the past year.
But I believe they will be successful, because the future of the Europe continent is best served by strong and successful relationships."
He continued: “I do not believe the strength of this cooperation needs change because we are leaving the European Union.
"Many of these principles can be applied to services trade too. Given the strength and breadth of the pan-European economic relationship, a deal that took in some areas of our economic relationship but not others would be, in the favoured phrase of EU diplomats, cherry picking.”
"First, European Council president Donald Tusk has approved an immediate start to discussions on the future relationship, and though EU guidelines will not be agreed until March, when chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his team will be able to confirm their positions, talks about implementation begin in the New Year."
The Brexit Secretary's intervention comes amid reports that Theresa May is preparing a New Year shake-up that could see Mr Davis’ role in the Cabinet further weakened if Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, is handed a job directly involved in the negotiations.
It would likely ruffle the feathers of Mr Davis, amid evidence that Mr Davis has already been sidelined as the Prime Minister takes stronger personal control of the Brussels talks.
Olly Robbins, Mr Davis’s former chief of staff, left his department to lead a newly formed European Unit in the Cabinet Office, reporting directly to Ms May.
Source: The Independent