Former Brexit Secretary hits out at the German leader

The former Brexit Secretary said only French president Emmanuel Macron is taking a harder line against the UK than the German Chancellor, accusing them of being ‘emphatic about us not being seen to succeed’.

Speaking to the Evening Standard on the eve of Tory conference, Mr Davis predicted the negotiations will “go the distance”, with any trade deal being clinched only at the last minute.

The ex-Cabinet minister also branded the Salzburg summit, where the Prime Minister’s Chequers pan was mauled by EU leaders, a “collective cock-up … on both sides”.

But he reserved his anger at the impasse in the talks on getting an agreement hammered out for Mr Macron.

Mr Davis pointed the finger firmly at Paris for “playing hardball”, saying there are three “strong elements” driving its policy.

He said one was the “daft argument” that it will only encourage others if the UK gets a good deal.

The second: “Is a very, very narrow French one of trying, as it were, to raid our economy to get businesses to go to France.”

The 69-year-old, who stood down in July over Mrs May’s draft proposals, also hit out at Ms Merkel.

He said: “I don’t think Merkel was ever really going to be our champion, ever, ever … neither Macron, nor Merkel.”

Elsewhere in the interview he said Mrs May has to show the Tory conference in Birmingham she is “tough enough to stand up” to Brussels.

But he warned of more Brexit turmoil ahead, stressing it is “tough now but it will get tougher” as the countdown to the end of Article 50 approaches.