Our Brexit secretary looked outclassed by the fancy footwork of the EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier

First the handshakes and generous expressions of goodwill. Not forgetting the obligatory exchange of gifts: a mountaineering book from David Davis to Michel Barnier, a hiking pole from Barnier to Davis. When you’re heading over a cliff, you need all the help you can get. Davis couldn’t have been more charming. The EU was a magnificent institution. The best of the best and the UK was keen to have the very closest links possible.

Just as it looked as if Davis might be about to have a change of heart and beg Barnier to let us stay after all, the bell rang for the start of the negotiations. The two teams headed off behind closed doors, with Davis exuding all the confidence of a non-league manager up against Barcelona. Several hours later he emerged for the press conference looking decidedly frazzled. His face was hot and sweaty and his hair was a mess. Lucky he’s still got plenty more to pull out.

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