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David Davis 'wins internal battle' with May adviser over shape of Brexit negotiations

David Davis - Philip Toscano/PA

David Davis 'wins internal battle' with May adviser over shape of Brexit negotiations

British civil servants are set to begin detailed negotiations on the future trade relationship with Brussels after David Davis won out in a key internal battle. 

The Brexit Secretary reportedly sent a letter last night to Whitehall officials urging them to come up with key Brexit goals ahead of an intense summer of talks with the European Commission. 

Davis is said to have clashed with Theresa May's chief Brexit negotiator, Olly Robbins, over how much of the future relationship can be agreed by Brexit day next March.

Robbins apparently believes a broad, high-level agreement is preferable, while Mr Davis wants to see departments come up with detailed proposals as soon as possible.

“David Davis wants to set demanding targets, to be achieved before the Withdrawal Agreement is signed off, in order to meet the legitimate expectations of Parliament. This letter does that,” a government source told the Daily Telegraph.

Elsewhere a source told the Times that Davis was "furious" that Robbins appeared to be echoing the Commission's approach to negotiations.

The veteran eurosceptic is reportedly concerned that offering only a broad agreement would enrage Tory backbenchers who want to see substantive progress on the future relationship.

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