David Davis: UK will avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland 'at all costs'

British Brexit Secretary David Davis has said that the UK will "avoid a hard border at all costs".

Mr Davis is being questioned by the UK Commons Exiting the European Union Committee.

David Davis

Speaking this morning, Mr Davis added: "we will underpin the peace process...the Good Friday Agreement and all the elements of it.

"We will come up with a mechanism which will enable that to happen at the border.

"What we have said all along and the Council agreed and, indeed, Mr Varadkar agreed was that the best way to do this is with a good free trade agreement because that then eliminates a lot of the issues from the beginning - not all of them but a lot of them."

Mr Davis has also told MPs the motion put before the British Parliament in the autumn on the final Brexit agreement will be amendable.

He said there could be debates in Parliament on the agreement "when it is clear but not signed".

As well as the "meaningful" vote on the deal, there will also be an implementation bill.

"My aim is to give the House as much time as I can to do all of those things, not just the one vote," he said.

Mr Davis said suggestions that Parliament was not being given enough time to debate Brexit were "at odds with reality".

He insisted there was "no absence of information" on the exit process.

The Brexit Secretary said it was "unlikely" there would be a no-deal outcome from the negotiations but there could be a "bare bones" agreement.

"I do not think no deal is a significant probability at all," he added.

Mr Davis said it was his "hope" that the first trade deal could come into force the day after the UK leaves.

Asked if there was a risk of Britain staying in the customs union for an indefinite period while an problems with customs were resolved, he replied: "I do not expect the solution to that to be extension of membership of the customs union.

"I would view that on my part as a failure."

He insisted the deal that is agreed by October would be "substantive".

"We will be voting for a bill of £35 - £39 billion. People want to know on the other side what we are getting in exchange.

"The hardest time I'm going to have in October is people saying 'what have we got for this?'"

PA & Digital Desk

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