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David Davis’s leaked letter to Prime Minister Theresa May that the EU is discriminating against the UK and damaging its economic interests by preparing for a no-deal scenario in March 2019 has been met with accusations of hypocrisy in Brussels.
In the letter, first obtained by the Financial Times, the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU has stated that the EU’s warnings could jeopardise existing contracts or even force British companies to move to the continent.
By treating the UK differently from other member states before it leaves the bloc, Davis suggests the EU had been acting “in a way which is frequently damaging to UK interests”. It has emerged that the government has taken advice on the legality of EU warnings to businesses that Britain would be treated as a “third country” after March 2019.
The European commission’s chief spokesman, Margaritis Schinas, expressed surprise at the content of the letter and insisted it was only natural for the bloc to prepare for a situation threatened repeatedly by Downing Street.
The letter, dated December 2017, was also sent to Sir Jeremy Heywood, the UK’s top civil servant; Sir Tim Barrow, the UK’s ambassador in Brussels; Oliver Robbins, Downing Street’s Brexit chief; and Philip Rycroft, the top civil servant at DExEU.