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The Brexit Secretary said the EU was trying to put pressure on the UK over the demands for a so-called divorce fee, the subject of a bitter row during the latest round of talks.
Mr Davis told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “They have set this up to try to create pressure on us on money, that’s what it’s about, they are trying to play time against money.”
Comparing Brussels’ demands to a hotel bill presented to a guest on checking out, Mr Davis said: “We are going through it line by line and they are finding it difficult because we have got good lawyers.”
He said Mr Barnier “wants to put pressure on us, which is why the stance this week in the press conference – bluntly, I think it looked a bit silly because there plainly were things that we had achieved”.
Mr Davis insisted he was not branding Mr Barnier personally “silly”, adding: “I said the commission would make itself look silly”.
The Brexit Secretary dismissed as “nonsense” claims that the UK would pay a £50 billion fee to exit the EU.
The “strict position” was that there was “no enforceable” legal basis for the UK to pay money to Brussels but “we are a country that meets its international obligations – but they have got to be there”.
Those obligations “may not be legal ones, they may be moral ones or political ones”, he said.
He added: “It will be turbulent, this is the first ripple.
“Money is the thing that frightens them most. Each time you’ll see a flurry of nervousness but the truth is we’ll get through it and we’ll get a good deal.”
The latest round of talks ended in an icy press conference, with Mr Barnier claiming there had been no “decisive” progress on key issues and suggesting there was a lack of trust as a result of the UK’s refusal to accept financial obligations.
The EU is only prepared to begin trade talks once it has assessed that “sufficient progress” has been made on issues including the financial settlement.
His comments came as Theresa May sought to prevent a Tory rebellion ahead of the first Commons votes on the Brexit legislation.
The Prime Minister’s allies have warned would-be rebels that they risk putting Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10 if they attempt to water down the so-called Repeal Bill.
The parliamentary battle over Brexit will begin on Thursday as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill begins its journey through the Commons.
In a plea to “soft Brexit” backers, Mr Davis said: “If you want something like continuity, this is the Bill you should be supporting.”
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer warned Mr Davis that Labour would not give a “blank cheque” to the Government.
Asked if his party would definitely vote against the Bill if Mr Davis does not accept Labour’s demands, he said: “Whilst we accept the result of the referendum, we are not giving a blank cheque to the Government to do it in whichever way it wants because it is not in the public interest.”
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