Davis Expressing Own View on Single Market, May Spokeswoman Says

Brexit Secretary David Davis was expressing his own view when he said it’s unlikely the U.K. would remain in the European Union’s single market if that meant ceding control over immigration, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokeswoman said.

Davis told lawmakers on Monday that, with the government focused on reducing immigration, it’s “very improbable” the U.K. would stay in the single market if doing so meant it couldn’t police migration flows.

Asked about the comments on Tuesday, May’s spokesman, Helen Bower, told reporters in London that Davis was “setting out his opinion.” She said the prime minister remains “ambitious” to “go after the best deal that we can get for the U.K.” and that planning for negotiations on leaving the bloc is continuing.

The exchange indicates the difficulty May faces in striking a consensus within her own government about how to achieve Brexit. May is approaching the negotiations “with an open mind,” Bower said. Davis “said that we want to see the best possible deal for trade in goods and services; that’s what the prime minister has also talked about doing.”