- Phil Noble/Reuters
LONDON – David Davis echoed Donald Trump as he said Brexit would put the UK “on the path to greatness once again.”
The Brexit secretary was speaking at the Conservative Party conference on Tuesday, where he appeared to ape the US president’s election slogan of “Make America Great Again.”
Davis insisted that “the future of this country is great” and “this government is facing up to it,” during his keynote speech in Manchester.
He said Brexit was: “An opportunity to make sure that all the decisions about the future of this country are taken by our parliament, our courts, our institutions.
“Decisions about how to spend our taxes – made here in Britain. Decisions about who comes into the country – made here in Britain. All our laws – made here in Britain.”
The Brexit secretary added: “We need to get Britain standing on its own two feet – facing outwards to the world.”
Davis also claimed the British can still be “good Europeans” after Brexit, saying that “we will remain good friends and allies” after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
His comments followed the European Parliament’s vote to delay the progression of Brexit negotiations, saying this should only happen if there is a “major breakthrough.”
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told MEPs: “We have not yet achieved sufficient progress to undertake in full confidence the second phase of negotiations.”
Davis asaid in his speech he is “certain” that a deal on citizens’ rights will happen “soon.” Citizens’ rights is one of the three key issues that the EU wants to tackle first, alongside Northern Ireland and the financial settlement.
On the financial settlement, he said: “As the Prime Minister has promised, we will honour our commitment because ours is a country which plays by the rules and obeys the law.”
He also insisted that on Northern Ireland, the UK and EU were “fully committed to protecting the peace process and ensuring that there is no return to the problems of the past.”
The Brexit secretary also said “we will be ready for the alternative” if a deal isn’t reached, as “that is what a responsible government does.”
However, he conceded that “the consequences of failure” in Brexit negotiations are “enormous.”
Labour MP Ian Murray, a leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign said: “If even the Brexit Secretary concedes that the costs are enormous, it is now time the Government abandoned their dangerous threat to leave the EU with no deal at all.”
The CBI’s deputy director-general Josh Hardie said in response: “The need to agree transition and move to discussions on the final deal is critical. There is no time to waste: the impact on investment and jobs across the UK and Europe grows day by day.
“Both sides must show leadership and determination to make sufficient progress on the issues of citizens’ rights, the exit bill and Northern Ireland to move the process on.”