Europe

UK negotiator denies govt is blackmailing EU on security

  • A selection of British national newspapers on sale at newsagents in London, Thursday, March 30, 2017. Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May's letter to the Donald Tusk President of the European Council, which launched Article 50, which started Britain's withdrawal from the EU has handed to Tusk in Brussels Wednesday. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool)

    A selection of British national newspapers on sale at newsagents in London, Thursday, March 30, 2017. Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May's letter to the Donald Tusk President of the European Council, which launched Article 50, which started Britain's withdrawal from the EU has handed to Tusk in Brussels Wednesday. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Leader of the ALDE Guy Verhofstadt speaks during a media conference at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. EU Council President Donald Tusk on Wednesday received a letter from British Prime Minister Theresa May, invoking Article 50 of the bloc's key treaty, the formal start of exit negotiations. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

    Leader of the ALDE Guy Verhofstadt speaks during a media conference at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. EU Council President Donald Tusk on Wednesday received a letter from British Prime Minister Theresa May, invoking Article 50 of the bloc's key treaty, the formal start of exit negotiations. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)  (The Associated Press)

Britain's chief negotiator in the country's divorce from the European Union is rejecting the suggestion that the government has threatened to end security cooperation unless it gets the trade deal it wants.

David Davis told the BBC that Prime Minister Theresa May's letter triggering talks on Britain's departure made clear it wants to continue to work with the EU on a range of issues, including security, for both sides.

Davis says: "We want a deal, and she was making the point that it's bad for both of us if we don't have a deal. Now that, I think, is a perfectly reasonable point to make and not in any sense a threat."

While the reference to security caused concern in Brussels, Davis says senior European leaders responded positively to May's letter.