Brexit: David Davis tells EU citizens UK courts ‘trustworthy’


David Davis in Prague

Brexit Secretary David Davis has said there is a “moral imperative” to reach a swift deal on the rights of EU nationals living in the UK.

He said the UK government took “very, very seriously” the need to end their anxiety and uncertainty.

But Mr Davis again signalled that he was not willing to compromise over the role of the European Court of Justice.

However he said rights would be backed up by a treaty and legislation enforced by “trustworthy” British courts.

The European Court of Justice has emerged as the central stumbling block in reaching a deal on the rights of EU nationals.

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EU sources last week described the conflict over the court as “a fundamental issue, a fundamental difference between the two sides on this”.

However, Mr Davis, in Prague for talks with the Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek, said the British government intended to introduce legislation to establish the rights of EU nationals, which would be enforced by British courts.

“I don’t think anybody has ever argued that the British courts are anything other than trustworthy in terms of defending the rights of individuals,” he said, adding that the legislation would be backed up by a treaty which would be enforceable as well.

Mr Davis said giving EU nationals in the UK the right to appeal to the European Court of Justice would be the same as allowing the US Supreme Court a role in Britain.

At the end of the press conference, Mr Davis stressed that under the UK proposals, Czech nationals would receive “the same rights as British citizens”, such as residence rights, economic, employment, pension, health and welfare rights.

“Essentially, all of the rights other that the right to vote for the national government,” he said.