David Davis mounts audacious 'that was then, this is now' defence
The Brexit secretary casually rowed back on previous comments about post-Brexit trade deals.
“I would expect the new prime minister on 9 September to immediately trigger a large round of global trade deals with all our most favoured trade partners,” David Davis stated somewhat ambitiously in July 2016.
Writing for ConservativeHome shortly before his appointment as Brexit secretary, Davis added: “So within two years, before the negotiation with the EU is likely to be complete, and therefore before anything material has changed, we can negotiate a free trade area massively larger than the EU.”
Of course, the UK is not in a position to negotiate any new trade deals until it leaves the European Union.
So how did Davis respond when his wildly optimistic words were quoted directly back to him by Hillary Benn at this morning’s Brexit select committee?
“I think that was before I was minister…. That was then, this is now,” he laughed.
It was not the only time in the session that the Brexit secretary casually shrugged off a previous comment he had made.
On another occasion, he told the committee: “Basically I looked at the facts, and as the facts changed, I changed my mind.”
Naturally, his declaration was swiftly seized upon by campaigners looking to reverse Brexit…