LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis said on Tuesday that reaching a deal with the European Union was the most likely outcome of talks, but added that the British government was prepared for no agreement with the bloc.
“Reaching a deal with the European Union is not only far and away the most likely outcome, it’s also the best outcome for our country,” Davis said in a speech in London.
“I don’t think it would be in the interest for either side for there to be no deal. But as a responsible government it is right that we make every plan for every eventuality.”
Both sides have spoken of their frustration at a lack of progress in negotiations so far, although Davis said talks had made real and tangible progress.
Britain wants to move discussions on to the future trade relationship with the EU which Brussels will not consider until London settles what it sees as past debts.
While Davis said he was “unambiguously” seeking a deal, he said Britain was ready for talks to fail.
“Over the past year every department across Whitehall has been working at pace covering the whole range of scenarios,” he said.
“These plans have been well developed, have been designed to provide the flexibility to respond to a negotiated agreement, as well as preparing us for the chance that we leave without a deal.”
Reporting by Andrew MacAskill, writing by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison