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David Davis: We’re ready for any Brexit outcome

Davis told Tory Party conference that work was under way “devoted to contingency arrangements so that we are ready for any outcome”.

Brexit Secretary David Davis has said Britain will be ready for its EU withdrawal, even if it does not secure a good deal with Brussels going forward.

He told Tory Party conference in Manchester that work was under way at Whitehall “devoted to contingency arrangements so that we are ready for any outcome”.

Mr Davis also poked fun at Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in his speech, as he outlined his vision for a global Britain after Brexit.

He said: “On the negotiating front, we are aiming for a good deal, and that is what we expect to achieve.

“However, if the outcome of the negotiation falls short of the deal that Britain needs, we will be ready for the alternative. That is what a responsible government does. Anything else would be a dereliction of duty.

“So there is a determined exercise under way in Whitehall devoted to contingency arrangements so that we are ready for any outcome. Not because it is what we seek, but because it needs to be done.”

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Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was on the receiving end of a jibe from Brexit Secretary David Davis (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Mr Davis aimed a jibe at Mr Johnson as he listed a series of British achievements, adding: “We train the best diplomats and put them to the test by sending them to work for the Foreign Secretary.”

The Brexit Secretary also poked fun at Cabinet splits, telling delegates: “I still get people coming up to me every day saying ‘best of luck’, or ‘get a good deal for us Mr Davis’, and even ‘surely it can’t be that difficult’ – and that’s just the Cabinet.”

He said Britain was making good progress in Brexit negotiations, adding that the Government would not allow the so-called repeal bill to be wrecked in Parliament.

He also said that Britain chose to be “good global citizens”, and that the UK had only voted to leave the political EU project and was not turning its back on Europe.

He accused Labour of opposing Brexit at every step, while failing to offer any alternatives.

“It’s like they’ve got a new slogan – ‘Labour…government without the hard bits’,” Mr Davis said.

“Well, we are different in this party, we respect the people’s decision, and we will deliver the people’s decision. When we leave the EU, our successes, and yes, our failures, will be ours and ours alone.

“But we are the country of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen, of Alexander Fleming and James Dyson. A super power in science, with the fairest legal system in the world.

“Britain is where you come if you want to study artificial intelligence or life sciences. So, being who we are and drawing on our strengths, we can be confident that our successes will dwarf our failures.”

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