Britain not threatening Europe over security cooperation - Davis

Britain's Secretary of State for Leaving the EU David Davis speaks on the Marr Show in London, March 12, 2017. Jeff Overs/BBC handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain was in not seeking to threaten Europe when it said cooperation in fighting terrorism would be weakened if it left the European Union without a comprehensive deal, Brexit minister David Davis said on Thursday.

Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the formal Brexit process on Wednesday with a letter to the EU Council President Donald Tusk that said “our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened” if Britain leaves the EU without a new deal.

“This is not a threat,” Davis told BBC Radio on Thursday. “This is a statement of the fact that this will be harmful for both of us... if we don’t get a deal. It’s an argument for having a deal.”

“We’re after a fully comprehensive deal that covers trade, covers security, covers all the aspects of our existing relationship and tries to preserve as much of the benefits for everybody as we can.”

“That I think is a perfectly reasonable point to make, and not in any sense a threat,” he said.

Reporting by Kate Holton and Alistair Smout, editing by Guy Faulconbridge