David Davis claims ‘decisive steps forward’ in Brexit talks

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“Decisive steps forward” have been made in the latest round of UK-EU talks, Brexit Secretary David Davis has said.

Mr Davis was speaking at the end of the first talks since Theresa May’s speech in Italy last week, in which she said the UK wanted a two-year transition.

But EU negotiator Michel Barnier said there were still “big gaps” between the sides on some of the withdrawal issues.

He said it could be “weeks or months” before they agreed to move to the next stage of talks about future relations.

The EU says that those talks about the future can only happen when there has been “sufficient progress” on the three issues of what the UK pays to the EU when it leaves, the rights for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU, and also the Northern Ireland border.

The UK is keen to get on to talking about future relations, and it had been hoped that it might get the go ahead when EU leaders meet next month.

“More remains to be done and we are not there yet,” Mr Barnier told the media.

He said the UK had confirmed that EU citizens “will be able to invoke their rights before the UK courts” but the sides had failed to agree over the role of the European Court of Justice in securing those rights.

Mrs May has indicated that the UK would not be subject to the court’s rulings after Brexit.

Mr Davis said the prime minister’s speech was intended to “change the dynamic and instil real momentum” into the talks – and he hoped EU negotiators would secure “a mandate to explore” the transition idea.

Mr Barnier made a commitment that negotiators will “keep working in a constructive spirit until we reach a deal”.

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