Please see below for today’s key Brexit news items:

  • UK prime minister Theresa May passed up an opportunity to explain her vision for post-Brexit relations with the EU and the rest of the world on Thursday in Davos, focusing the bulk of her address to the World Economic Forum on the digital economy. Mrs May did call on the international community to “double down” on free trade, saying that “there is much more to be done and frankly too often our rhetoric in support of free trade in Davos is not met by action.” (The Financial Times)
  • Philip Hammond has called for a soft Brexit with only ‘very modest’ changes to Britain’s relationship with the EU in a significant intervention in Davos. It comes ahead of a speech tonight by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of a group of 60 Eurosceptic Tory MPs, in which he lays out the view that the Government’s tone on Brexit needs to “fundamentally change”.(The Telegraph)
  • The Brexit Secretary has been accused of backtracking “more times than a mountaineer with no map” during an excruciating bout of questioning over trade deal timelines. At a Brexit Select Committee hearing, chair Hilary Benn urged David Davis to admit he was wrong to say the UK would be able negotiate a free trade area “massively larger than the EU” within two years of exiting the bloc. (The Independent)
  • Britain is seeking a special “good faith” provision in its Brexit transition deal, fearing the EU may otherwise exploit its position to impose deliberately harmful rules on the UK. The request for a binding EU promise to treat Britain fairly highlights the nervousness of London over its vulnerability during any transition, where it would adopt new EU laws even though it would no longer have membership voting rights. (The Financial Times)
  • MPs will not know “the full details” of Britain’s future trade deal with the EU when they vote on Brexit later this year, the Chancellor has admitted. Philip Hammond was accused of having “let the cat out of the bag” with the comments, which contradict David Davis’ insistence that the negotiations will conclude before departure day. (The Independent)