David Davis MP, secretary of state for exiting the European Union, speaks at the Foreign Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the implications of leaving the EU.
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Welcome to this afternoon session of the Foreign Affairs Committee
on the ongoing enquiry into Brexit process.
The Secretary of State, you are very welcome.
I note this is your second meeting in two days
and you told the House of Lords European Scrutiny
yesterday appearing in front of them
was a particular pleasure.
I hope to be back today.
Is that what you schedule a meeting
at that site of the building.
It was not me who does the scheduling.
The scheduling was theirs.
You presumably make the decision to go there first
and that is the gentle hook I want to take into my question,
to examine your assessment of the legal and parliamentary
implications of the Brexit process.
Can you confirm there is going to have to be
an Act of Parliament in order to leave the EU?
There will have to be some legislation, no doubt about it.
There are various stages.
Firstly, legislation to deal with the European Communities Act 1972
and the consequential legislation on from that.
There may have to be parliamentary ratification under
the relevant 2010 legislation.
The so-called CRA legislation.
That is the absolute minimum that I can see.
So we cannot leave the EU if that is not in place?
Well, we can leave but what the legislation does
is put in place directives and various other pieces of law
which will still have effect if we did not.
Whilst we require a treaty change, we were in that sense still be
reporting back to the European Court in some respects.
What I am seeking to establish if there are acts of parliament
to be put in place or repealed.
So, that is perhaps why you were at the other side
of the building, my assessment is that there is a majority
in the House of Commons to support the Prime Minister in Brexit
means Brexit and despite the fact the number of conservatives
were campaigning to remain in the EU
they have accepted the decision of the electorate
and will now support the Government
in the process of leaving the EU.
However, it is my assessment you could not be as confident
that is the position down the other end of the building
in the House of Lords, would you agree?
Well, you are wrong about the calculation
in that there was no calculation in terms of who I saw first
and second, I have not made an assessment of what the balance
of power or balance of interest or voting with the end
of each house.
It is a bit early to do so for a start.
Any legislative change would be based at least in part
where the negotiation had got to buy them
and whether or not individual members of each house approved.
I do not know where we will be.
My hope and intention is we will have a majority
in both houses.
Can I gently suggest the Government could be
reasonably confident that of a majority in the Commons,
in order to carry out the decision of the British people,
that is a rather more open question
about the attitudes of the house of Lords, where the Government has
a significant minority and there are a number
of conservatives who are appear to be determined to obstruct
the country's route to Brexit.
If you were in that place, then obstructing the Acts
of Parliament that are required to enable Brexit is something that
will have to be overcome by the House of Commons
using the Parliament act.
What I would suggest to you whether you would agree
if it was a sensible idea for the legislative process to be
commenced in sufficient time for it to be
on the statute book having overcome opposition
in the House of Lords by the use of the Parliament act
so we can leave the EU by the early part of 2019.
Again, I will challenge the basis on which you make your argument.
The simple truth is what the Government is doing is
carrying out the biggest ever mandate given
to the Government by the British people.
Nearly 17.5 million people.
Had it been a general election between two parties called Leave
and Remain, the majority for Leave would be bigger
than Tony Blair's majority 1997.
It is a clear mandate and the House of Lords
would be unwise not to take that seriously.
They have a perfectly reasonable possession and challenging
elements of the negotiation but I would be very surprised
if they were unwise enough to go down the route or blocking it.
It has been a view of this committee the Government
was guilty of gross negligence for not preparing
for Brexit in advance.
It is also the view that it may amount to gross
negligence if you proceeded on the assumption all would-be
hunky-dory and you would get you legislation in good order
because the House of Lords were minded to upgrade instruction
because the House of Lords were minded to obey instruction
of the British people.
Wouldn't it be prudent to make sure your legislation was then
placed insufficient time to allow us to leave the EU?
On a date of the Government's choosing or at the conclusion
of negotiations two years after giving notice
under article 50.
under Article 50.
You are jumping to the conclusion of the committee report
on a decision I have yet to take.
I suspect it is getting the committee ahead of itself.
I am clearly intending to get us to a position of leaving the EU
within the normal Article 50 timetable.
I will make the legislative arrangements that are necessary
to get there.
That is the simple case of the matter.
I will not, I am afraid, hypothesised with this committee
or any other about the way I got house will vote.
or any other about the way either house will vote.
That is for the whips and the usual channels to do and I will make
decisions based on the advice.
I will not air this any more public
to jeopardise them.
I am grateful for Europe's reply this morning
I am grateful for your reply this morning
on my letter to the Attorney General
of legal issues on leaving the EU.
I wrote to him and invited him to reply by the 13th of July
and I am delighted he finally replied on the 13th of September.
Albeit from me.
I am very grateful.
What I am less satisfied by is the terms of your answers.
I want to explore why you are unable
to give answers to some rather basic questions.
The first question I put to the attorney was can all be
directly applicable regulations currently applied to the UK be
transposed into UK law in a single act of Parliament.
That struck me as a rather straightforward question
and your reply said you would appreciate the questions raised
in your letter touched on issues currently the subject of legal
proceedings, to which the Government is party.
Areas raised by them which it would therefore not be appropriate
for me to comment on.
Please do explain how this simple technical question
about whether or not it is possible
to use the single act of Parliament
impinges on an action being taken against the Government
about the operation of Article 50.
I can talk about the issues relating
to the act of Parliament.
Let me do that here and now.
There are a number of ways you can put into effect such
an act of Parliament.
One of them is to
put everything in place at once.
It would be huge and to come back to you earlier position
about the timing on this,
it would have to wait until very late on in the process
because we would need to know what we were doing with each
components of the exit from the EU.
Even were it a simple exit with almost no amendments to it
and were we setting out in order to do all the changes letter on it
and were we setting out in order to do all the changes later
would still be complicated because, taking a trivial example,
when local government, under European law
they have to put the bid into the European system.
That would deal with all those tiny things
either directly or with a spectacular
Henry VIII clauses.
That is one aspect.
But you can do it rather more early
and have a whole series of successive pieces
so there is a problem, which you can see...
I am not sure I do.
My question was, how does the question you opposed
in my letter to the attorney excuse
the reason you gave for not...
No, your reason for not answering the question was that it impinged
on that and I don't understand the connection.
From memory, there was a reference to that, to Article 50,
was in there?
It was could all the current causes relating to the UK
could be retained should Parliament wish that?
Your argument is this is currently the subject of legal proceedings...
That was an error because I thought
it was a reference to Article 50.
There was not.
I wonder if you could have another go in a letter to the committee
at answering that question.
Of course we can but we can also deal with the substantive issue
right here, which is the nature of the legislation we are likely
to carry through.
You can either have very simple legislation which meets your
requirements of going earlier...
What is the simplest?
I suppose the position is that is, you've got all this directly
applicable regulations not put through, so not in British law
at the minute, we will leave the European Union-
do we try to make a judgment about whether the 6987 regulations
that directly apply, that we go through them one by one
and decide which to keep on which to leave, when we leave,
or will we keep...
Put all of them into line take our time to go through and decide
which ones we don't want?
The decision we have to take is whether one has a simple piece
of legislation with a cascading set of SIs
following on from it and the House of Lords
famously does not like that, it does not like things
that create lots of statutory rights
for ministers rather than going through primary legislation...
Or you could do it with a small piece of upfront legislation
and then a mixture of primary and secondary, or you could do
a huge one that would need to be linked because you would need
to know what the changes were before you started.
Before you started the legislation.
No, I think what you have said in answer to the first question
is yes, which is obviously...
I am grateful for an answer.
Then there are options beyond that...
Let me be clear.
I do not want you to take this guidance from me.
My answer to question one was yes.
What was question one in this context?
Can all the directly applicable legislation is that
apply currently in the UK be translated
to the law.
Am grateful for that.
The second question posted in the letter I posed.
Let me for the benefit of the record...
The second question I asked you.
On what terms will the UK and EU trade at the end of the two-year
negotiating period mandated by Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty,
if no deal has been agreed between the UK and EU on the terms
of the UK's exit from the EU, or no deal has been agreed
on the future relationship between the UK the EU?
What that posits is the rather obvious possibility that there
is either a blocking minority amongst the 27 who declined
to come to an agreement, or the European
Parliament who has a majority against whatever is negotiated
between you and the 27.
That strikes me as a rather obvious possibility.
The answer you gave to me and the committee was,
"Turning to trade, we are about to begin these
negotiations and it would be wrong to set out further unilateral
positions in advance."
"As the Prime Minister has said, the UK will strike a bespoke
agreement that gets the best deal for people at home and the right
deal for Britain abroad."
That is not in the gift of the Prime Minister, is it?
It will have to be an agreement between us and our 27 partners
endorsed by a majority of the European Parliament?
The Prime Minister cannot make that statement.
No, those are her aims.
Those are her aims, yes, but the fact is
she cannot guarantee it and neither can you.
Nobody can guarantee the negotiations.
The process we are about to embark on, there is no agreement.
That as a possible outcome.
One possible outcome.
But all I have done is asked you, or as the Attorney General,
and you were kind enough to send me a letter which...
Has not in my judgment entirely addressed the question,
shall I say?
I think it is a rather straightforward
and simple question.
And I think there is a very important reason you should answer
it as soon as you are in a position to do so,
and that is it is a kind of technical question.
What happens if there is no agreement?
That then addresses a vast amount of the uncertainty that is out
there, for example, you know, in a memorandum
from the Japanese, for example.
People looking for certainties as to what happens.
If it is clear, if there is no agreement in the negotiation,
what the position is, then you address a vast amount
of the uncertainty out there with individual companies
and the rest, and they can then watch the negotiations
and make their commercial judgment according to
how they perceive them as going given whatever guidance
you will be able to get,
but then they will at least know how bad it can get
from their position, or how good it can get,
if there is no deal.
There may be an opportunity for them
if there is no deal,
but simply explaining what the technical position
is going to be, our terms of trade into the Single Market,
in those circumstances, that strikes me as firstly
answerable and indeed necessary to answer.
It depends what you are after.
If you want a factual statement of what the outcome could be,
I guess it is what is normally known as world trade
organisation rules, largely.
That is I guess what the conclusion would be
if we are outside with no deal, but I would not
anybody to think in my view that was a likely outcome.
I am not asking whether it is a likely outcome or inviting
you to put probability on it.
I am inviting us to get us tooks to an agreed understanding
it is World Trade Organisation rules that
will govern us into the Single Market...
I think that is a matter of commonly held fact.
That is all I was seeking to get the confirmation
of because there have been people suggesting there are complications
about putting the World Trade Organisation rules in position
and if you are telling this committee that is a matter
of commonly held fact, and it is a fact, then that gives
everybody a bottom-line from which to work all the...
And all the interests, which as you know is
a very large number...
Except, and this is one of the problems, we are dealing
with negotiations which as I said yesterday
are extremely complicated.
The World Trade Organisation rules essentially apply just as tariffs
but the nontariff barriers are one of the primary barriers.
It is a simple answer.
Of course there is a complacency about how the nontariff barriers
are operated on the rest.
But I think there is a very great need for as much clarification
of what can be reasonably clarified
and is part of the obvious bounds of which a negotiation
can take place and obviously one of those is no agreement,
for that to be clearly established and put out there.
You've gone very great deal further in answers
to me than you,
than the you probably signed off in some case this morning
when he realised it was outstanding.
It was not outstanding for me...
Yes, and the Attorney General has not done this to mind
and I appreciate that, and I am grateful...
No good deed ever goes unpunished.
I am very grateful for the detail you have now given.
One further question from me before moving on to Mr Gates.
Sorry, but who will you be negotiating with?
First off, the commission has appointed Mr Barnier,
the Parliament has appointed Mr Verhofstadt,
and I went to Dublin and spoke to Mr Flannigan, and...
My question is, in a sense, who are you
formally negotiating with?
We are formally negotiating with the council.
There appears to be some dispute between the council.
If you will forgive me that is not for me to resolve.
We may return to the involvement of the European Parliament
later in questions.
I wanted a little bit more clarity on the question of the letter
when you see it is possible to have a position where we adopt
all the 6800 EU laws...
But I thought he then went on to say
that would be problematic and give the example of the local
authority having to publish all their European...
So it wouldn't be workable?
You have to deal with that by a series of follow-on
legislation, something like that- would through an SI,
and it would not be confirmed to just that.
It would not be confirmed to the sort of minor problems
like that - they would be substantive changes,
changes in immigration law, changes in a whole series
of matters currently to do with European Union,
some of which could be quite significant.
So the problem there is generating a lot of secondary legislation
and possibly some primary legislation.
It may not resolve the issue in the way your chairman
was saying earlier.
If there is not time to get it through, what happens?
That is why it is difficult.
And just on the timetable and of course I completely
understand you cannot give any committee a running commentary
on negotiations or positions the Government would take,
but could you at least see when you expect the Government
to agree a clear set of objectives for Brexit negotiation.
Do you have a target?
That is one of them and probably the primary one
is the Prime Minister has said we will not trigger Article 50
is the Prime Minister has said we will not trigger Article 50
until sometime in the New Year, after the end of this year.
Because we are going through that process as it stands,
and I can talk you through that if you want to hear it.
Assessing, negotiating aims, negotiate and tactics,
the legalities, the very things we have been speaking about,
the legalities of Article 50, and all those things really have
to be fairly clear before you start,
so we will arrive at that something in the New Year.
So you will have all of your objectives in place sometime
in the New Year, so by January?
I will not guess on that, with the best will in the world.
I have said before I would rather go one month late
and get it right and go a month early
and get it wrong.
That has slightly flipped the phrase
but it characterises it.
But early in the New Year?
The Prime Minister certainly one very public comment and one
that was implicit I figured what she said.
Firstly, it will not be this year.
Secondly, she knows that British people expect us to be
expeditious about it.
After reaching that position when will the Government set
out your objectives or will you not
set them out at all?
We will certainly set out some objectives,
the level of detail of the game is another matter but the overall
aim will be set out clearly.
Apart from anything else, you have got Parliament is having
an interest in its and as I said yesterday to the Lords committee
we will meet that as far as we can without jeopardising
the overall aim.
Also, we have, when rewriter Donald Tusk under Article 50
we will write a letter and a sum that would include a statement
of our aims.
So that would be early in the New Year?
I will not be drawn on dates.
You said you would hold roundtable debates with stakeholders.
Can you explain in more detail how the process will actually work?
Will you publish open calls for evidence or contributions
from stakeholders will you and other departments
select those who you wish to hear from?
A bit of both.
Some of it is self-selecting because anybody who is concerned
about their own industry will be wanting to have a round table so,
for example, last week a city group
had a roundtable chair by the Chancellor.
I have one other retail this week.
I have set in the house I saw the TUC,
they were the first people I saw.
The fishermen's organisations, you name it.
The whole series where we think it is at issue
and people who are concerned.
And that is how you ensure it is wide-ranging and representative?
Bear in mind...
Sorry, I left out the section.
Also bear in mind is we put to one side the devolved administrations
because they have got a separate set
of almost parallel operations going on,
but every single department is it's also been asked,
was passed at the beginning of the summer.
Coming back with their primary concerns and their client group.
That is also happening.
I cannot think of any other way of making any
more exhaustive comments.
And the Department is suitably resourced for this?
More of the resources in the department that with us.
My department is quite small but has expanded rapidly
in the past month but is still only around 200 people.
What we are doing, the strategy we are taking is having a small
number of very high calibre civil servants of each of the main
departments, not trying to replicate
the entire policy went off, let's say, the Home Office.
That makes it work better, more effective, we not duplicating,
there are no turf wars and it is a better way of doing it.
How will it work when you start negotiating?
You are missing out this step.
The step between now and then, the negotiations starting,
will involve a degree of assessments
of the size of the problem.
For example, somebody has said that the nontariff barriers
are better than tariff barriers and they have cited various ways
are bigger than tariff barriers and they have cited various ways
so we will do a quantification of natural before we start
negotiating we will have an idea of what is big or small
and what matters and what does not.
We will not necessarily publish all that because that is a gift
to the other side that we will know it.
Welcome, secretary of state.
These are complex negotiations at you do not want to compromise
your position, but many of us believe if access to the single
market cannot be gains on terms reasonable to both sides then
market cannot be gained on terms reasonable to both sides then
certainly for those goods subject to tariffs we should not be afraid
to fall back on the WTO rules.
Is there any reason we should not do that?
I will not commit to any particular strategy at the moment,
for obvious reasons.
Firstly, let me offer a philosophical approach.
I think it is a bad idea to go into negotiation
fearing any outcomes.
Because that weakens you in one respect of another.
Speaking about the calculations that
will go on and we will assess not just
what the costs of a given strategy is but also
what the policies that go with it.
So, people might say it will cost this or that,
they have not necessarily taken on board how we might
I see nothing to fear in any outcome.
On immigration, mainly in the EU Commission the early suggestions
are linking immigration or free movement with trade negotiations.
Many of those who voted to leave, one of the key reasons was we had
a immigration system discriminatory against the rest of the world
outside the EU and what was wanted was fairness,
whatever the criteria that will guide the policy
going forward it must be fair
so that is the discrimination.
so that there is no discrimination.
Is that the sense of the position within the Government,
as you see it?
My job is to get those powers back,
respect the will of the British people which I tend to think of...
To respect that as much as we can in negotiations.
When we get it back it is only Home Office to make decisions
on how to use that power.
Whilst I have sympathy with your description of it,
it is not me who the decision.
The decision on how we decide on the final policy.
The certainty of that position is if you endear to the principle
of fairness, whatever the criteria used, essentially adhere
to the principle there will be no discrimination,
you effectively divorce immigration
and free movement from the trade negotiations
because you can offer nothing special to the EU as such.
You need to explain that begin to me.
The subtlety of the principle of fairness is not only
that it is right, in that you will not discriminate
against one region of the world against another, but in pursuing
the principle of fairness you actually divorce in effect
immigration and free movement of labour from trade negotiations.
I did actually understand that the first time.
For obvious reasons I will not be drawn on it.
Can you not say anything?
Can I pressure on this?
It is a key plank of the campaign.
The Prime Minister made it plain the current system cannot be
allowed to stand.
She said we will not have free movement as it now is.
She talked about control borders so I do not think there is
any doubt about the priority that is on this
and I do not think our European partners would doubt that either.
And some of them have commented publicly in disagreement with her,
for example, the Irish head commented over the weekends
disagreeing with us but it is plain
this is a priority.
You mentioned you have a meeting with the TUC,
which is very welcome and unusual for the Government
in recent years to have such an early meetings with
ministers and the TUC.
I do have form on this.
Perhaps then you can answer the question that you previously
said workers should not lose their rights as a result of Brexit.
Is that your personal view or is that because the view
of the Government?
It is a personal view but I have not
been disagreed with.
So there has been no discussion in Government yet about an erosion
of workers' writes?
of workers' rights?
Not on that specific issue and what I have said two other
Not on that specific issue and what I have said to other
members of the committee is we will not get drawn
into the policy elements of this.
Because it has implications that would...
To put it another way, if you lay a red lines
you are negotiating opponent does is head straight for that line
and use it against you.
I do not propose to elaborate but the comment stands.
Yesterday you told the Lords Select Committee
you will ask businesses to give you a quantitative
assessment of theimpacts of various scenarios
on their sectors.
How are you going to assess that data, the validity of that paper?
I was talking to Lord Green and what I said
what we would carry out these assessments and some
of the information will,
come that but the same way you test any data
given to you, you look at how it is calculated.
Will the businesses carry out or will you.
We will carry out some of our own.
Earlier I sighted people comparing effect of tariff and nontariff
barriers on how you set it.
You said your department does not date have the capacity says
You said your department does not date have the capacity to access
When do you expect to have that capacity?
Before we need it but the sequence of events
is like this, at the moment we are doing the round tables
and bilateral discussions.
We will then asked for data and submissions from them,
we will then begin assessment.
That is a little while away but I suspect the department
will double again in size.
Will that be before or after Article 50's triggered?
You will not trigger Article 50 until your department
is at capacity to carry out the functions.
To carry out those functions.
That is self evident, I would have thought.
And will you be drawing on the competencies
and documentation produced by ministers before the referendum,
the whole process went through when William Hague
was Foreign Secretary.
Most of this is a new process.
I think when the committee...
It is a very big process and there is a lot of work
going on and pretty much every department is involved
and they will be doing a fair amount of analysis
themselves and then challenging it.
Given the clear reluctance you have two states
what you're negotiating position is going to be and not give
answers today or yesterday,
how long do you think you can sustain this position?
Isn't the reality that it will become politically impossible
domestic calling, not just internationally and are
therefore it might be better that the Prime Minister
and her new team actually got a mandate from the British
people before they trigger Article 50?
An early general election before article 50.
I am tempted to say that is above my pay grade
but it puts the rest of your questioning in context.
My questions are the kinds of questions people want answers
to your job is to answer them.
My job is to make decisions on behalf of the people.
We have a mandate like no other.
It is our job to deliver on that mandate and our job to do it as best
we can which means carrying out the negotiation in an intelligent
way, making the decisions on the basis of the data we collect,
analyse and make a decision on that basis, not the other way round.
It may be your approach to save because we are asking
the question you must tell us the answer before you have out
but that seems daft, to me.
You have not worked out the answers to any of these questions yet?
We have worked out some answers but not to the questions you have
asked and we have a major exercise under way and we will look at every
single sector industry, every single department of state has
got the workloads on less and they will come to intelligent
conclusions and that will drive the outcome,
empirical outcome to this process, not politically driven answers
but allowing you to say should we have an election.
I think these questions have established the level
Not above my pay grade...
Yes, not responsible to, Secretary State.
Good to see you back in Government, Mr Davies.
We are clear on the accentuation of the fact that was preparatory
work on the situation post Brexit, and it has clearly been indicated
the ball is in our court for triggering this.
Can I ask you, bearing in mind we have up to two years for this
renegotiation process, what are the delays in invoking
The primary delay is doing the necessary preparations.
It would be quite difficult for any government to do the level
of analysis we are undertaking now.
It is enormous.
As I say, every department is involved in it, pretty much.
That is the first thing.
It is time consuming, it simply is time-consuming,
first to collect the data, to establish the nature of the...
Let me give you another example.
The City of London, there has been a lot of concern about passports
and so on, and some companies have raised issues about this.
Some companies care about it and some do not.
We need to understand why some care and some don't
and what the differences are, we need to understand
whether there needs to be a policy as do it or can be fixed
the problems themselves with brass plates around the place and so on?
There are a whole series of issues and that is just one sector.
And the ecosystem is not an industry which fits together like a complex
tower as many as are of the opinion, say 'aye'.
To the contrary, 'no'.
Together like a complex jenga tower.
The only way to do this responsibly is to do the analysis first,
and clearly work out what the National priorities are,
on the basis of that, then designed a negotiating
strategy around that.
That is why it takes time and I make no bones about it.
I think the British people want us to do this properly,
not necessarily incredibly fast.
I understand obviously there is a huge amount of work to be
done, analytical work, and we want to be ready for those
negotiations with all the facts at our disposal.
It is not an issue, though, however, on lack of resources
for your department, is it?
Do you have sufficient resources?
There is a time constraint in the sense that the department has
come from scratch.
It did not exist two months ago, a little over two months ago.
Most people around this table, you know what Whitehall
is like in August.
The recruitment process is not a straightforward
as you might think.
So it has taken time.
There is no way round it.
It is not a shortage of money resource.
It is just a question of establishing the organisation
As I said to the Lords' committee yesterday,
at the moment it is mostly civil servants, in fact entirely civil
servants, and they are all quite young, smart people,
but they do not have experience in the City,
in industry, in various other areas, and the next phase is to bring
in some grey hair to bring in that experience.
It is not resources in the sense of money.
There is no problem with that.
our European partners have been I think very understanding,
certainly in public, about our delay.
Obviously they are keen for us to invoke it as quickly as possible.
Do you envisage a time when they will start to say publicly
that they are concerned about the delay?
Have you had any discussions with them about that?
I think I am right...
What the Prime Minister has been saying, and it may well have come up
in those discussions, but I don't think it is material.
The French government have been saying they wanted
to be precipitated soon.
I think one or two members of the Commission,
Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, he has said he would like to be
soon, but, you know, they are the other side
of this negotiation.
We will not necessarily do everything they say when they want
us to do it.
The counter to this is that they need some time as well.
For example, to give you the parallel to this,
my opposite number within the commission if you like,
Michel Barnier, is just at the moment about to establish his
own Department of 25 people, not 200 or 400, but 25 for this
instance so he can do his analysis, and they will need to work out
for themselves what the consequences of our negotiating request questions
are and they are also starting a process I do not think
it is wasted time.
OK, thank you.
I can say I am familiar with some of the young talent supporting
you in this role, obviously which iss some of which I am aware
of as a minister.
But speaking about grey hair, has approved rather more difficult
to find experienced servants to come and join your department?
You say experienced civil servants...
This morning we had on offer, and I probably should not mean
the company, but we had an offer of three senior partners from a very
major law firm in this area, so we have had other offers as well.
So no, there is not a shortage of interest in getting involved.
For many of the companies in the City, indeed,
in business in Britain, there are strong interests,
shall we say?
In providing us with good calibre people when they can.
Some of the interest groups, not companies,
are doing their own analyses as well, which we will incorporate
and draw on as well.
I wouldn't worry...
I mean, I will tell the committee if I run into a constraint on this
and I'm very happy to do so, but I am not at the moment
concerned about that.
There is a natural limitation on how long it takes to set
up an organisation.
I am setting up a battalion from scratch, basically.
To put it in words you would be familiar with.
You know, I am the recruiting Sergeant...
Well, actually, it might be a battalion!
We will see what we get.
It will be as big as it needs to be.
Good afternoon, Secretary of State.
The people voted to leave the European Union.
They expect us to leave the European Union.
And we understand that it takes time to get these things right before
we can actually do it.
But in the meantime can you reassure the public,
can you take actions, even small symbolic actions,
to indicate that the Government is absolutely serious,
deadly serious, about doing this, because there are jitters
and there are people worried that this is not actually
going to happen in the way they thought?
Well, at the beginning of the summer, the Chancellor
carried out the statement that we would underpin spending,
structural funds, CEP funds and so on.
If you wanted signal we wanted to reduce the jitters and say,
we are definitely doing this, that was one CAP.
That was one decision.
Those argument is notwithstanding the be made over again.
Those arguments notwithstanding the be made over again.
There was a debate I think in Westminster Hall last,
in fact last Monday, on whether there should be
a second referendum.
The Prime Minister has said time and time again,
you know, no second referendum, no reversals, nor avoidance.
We are leaving the European Union.
As a transition between now and when we leave
the European Union, is there a possibility
that we could look at EFTA is a way of continuing the existing trade
relations and leaving the European Union much earlier
by actually having that kind of transition?
No, I don't think so.
I don't want to get into it and I will not get
into what arrangement we end up with when we leave.
There are people who argue that as an outcome.
There are others who argue instant departure, so I will not get
into that but, no, I think this is the case.
The strategy of the Government is to depart the Union at the end
of the Article 50 process.
Up until then, the Government will absolutely obey
the European Union law and will be a good European Union citizen,
that is the approach we are taking and we think
that is the approach we are taking and we think it is the best approach
in terms of our responsibilities
and also we think it is the best negotiating approach.
We will not walk away from our responsible days.
We will take a stronger stance on European matters on defence,
security and a whole series of other things.
This is a bit of an indicator.
But whether there are things we can do that would be legally OK to do,
that show we are symbolically...
One example is new passports that will be issued from now on will go
back to the traditional blue British passport rather than the pink things
we have been using.
You would need to ask the Home Secretary...
Could we have symbolic gestures such as that to show the British people
we are absolutely serious about leaving the EU?
Attractive as the idea is, we're not in the business,
or at least I am not in the business, of symbolism.
I am in the business of delivering on this,
and that is the point.
On that very point of delivering, in your deliberations
and negotiations and discussions about Britain's future,
the United Kingdom's future, with the EU, what assurance can
you give your taking into account the interests of Gibraltar
and the British Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies,
but particularly Gibraltar that have a huge amount of concerns
about their position following Brexit?
Well, we are, and I am seeing the chief minister of Gibraltar
almost after this meeting.
Simon thank you very much.
The Secretary of State seems reluctant to go into specifics
about exposing his negotiating hand but as you will recall straight
after the referendum there was huge uncertainty in markets.
The pound slumped, share prices down.
We were led to understand they would not be a rush to invoke
To give some breathing space and the markets and many major
investors time to speculate, on which approach we will take.
You clearly do not want to be transparent about this
but our markets, businesses and inverses want is to some degree
transparency that the outcome will be something they can live with.
You made it quite plain that you are not sure an EFTA model
is for Britain, but do you have some arrangement you will keep secret
until the last minute and that at the end of tonight years will be
until the last minute and that at the end of two years will be
brought out like a rabbit out of the hat, that the international
community, and in particular the business community,
will be satisfied with, and in the meantime what damage do
you think that will do to our international standing
in the markets and the strength of the pound, and what is happening
in investment in this country?
Let me take it apart from the beginning.
Firstly the description of the financial markets was just
simply not true.
The FTSE 100 and all the various indicators are good.
The standing of the pound is not in a poor place.
Indeed a previous government believed that that is where it
should be, so I am not in the business of speculative
on that but that description you have given is a little
like descriptions people were giving in August trying to blame things
on Brexit then of course all those things they were calling on Brexit
dissolved on wearing there, so...
Let me finish.
You ask the question so I will answer.
Firstly, your description of the economy is simple
not the case.
The first thing to say to you is a big business decisions
are not taken on the right thing of one commentator
in the Financial Times, they are taken over a period of time
and not taken off the back of the movement of the markets
on one day or another.
You will see the foreign investment into this country after the election
of a Government that had undertaken the referendum was as high as it
has ever been.
We saw investment in the country in a big way.
We saw investment.
One business said they were going to continue to invest.
So I frankly do not accept the premise but let's take the next
step as well.
That is what business views as uncertainty.
A business that wants to see a decision taken on the basis
of the facts, a Government doing representing the national interest
and that is what this Government is doing.
If I were still in business and worrying about whether to
invest, I would not be panicked by a Government taking its time
but by the Government rushing to do something in a tremendous hurry.
The premise of your question is flawed.
You say that, I know you had discussions with the Japanese
ambassador so let me give you a short passage.
What Japanese businesses wish to avoid the situation
in which they are unable to play discern the rear brakes
in which they are unable to play discern the Brexit
and negotiations are going and only grasping the whole picture
at the end.
It is imperative to regain the confidence of the world
and ensure competitiveness by increasing the predictability
of the Brexit process.
That is not just through a Japanese company
but of companies around the world is wondering
whether or not to pull out of Britain.
Because we will not have access.
You said yourself, we may not be in the single market when this
process is finished.
Did I say that?
You are basing that on what evidence?
Let me deal...
Let me finish, secretary of state.
You mention investment but that is not companies
like Nissan and a wholly owned by building factories,
it is a British company is taken over by a Japanese company.
It is not jobs and hard manufacturing.
Let's not mix this thing as equivalent to the big car
investments made in this country.
You were the one who raised is the FTSE numbers.
Many of the companies listed on the FTSE foreign-owned
and that is why the FTSE has not been affected to the same degree.
Where was the question at the end of that?
Let me deal with the Japanese point first.
The simple way of dealing with it is to go back to the Today
programme on the first day of the G 21 Japanese ambassador said
about how attractive Britain is and will continue to be.
If there is nothing new,
then the Court of Appeal aren't going to change their decision.
David Davis MP, secretary of state for exiting the European Union, speaks at the Foreign Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the implications of leaving the EU for the UK's global role, from 13th September.