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  1. ITV Report

UK not preparing for 'Mad Max-style' free-for-all after Brexit, David Davis says

David Davis has denied ministers want a programme of sweeping deregulation in a "Mad Max-style" free-for-all after Britain leaves the EU.

In a keynote speech in Vienna on Tuesday, the Brexit Secretary said the UK wants to maintain "close, even-handed co-operation" with EU regulatory authorities even after it has withdrawn from the bloc.

"We are leaving the EU, but we are not leaving the Continent or the neighbourhood," Mr Davis told Austrian business leaders, promising that that the UK would "continue to be a good global citizen" after leaving the bloc.

Mr Davis argued a common commitment to high regulatory standards should ensure trade with the EU remains as "frictionless as possible" after Brexit.

Ministers have previously warned the UK would be forced to adopt a different "economic model" if it was unable to secure a satisfactory deal with the remaining 27 member states.

Davis pointed to Theresa May's commitment to maintaining and enhancing workers' rights. Credit: PA

The 69-year-old also pointed to Theresa May's commitment to maintaining and enhancing workers' rights, Chancellor Philip Hammond's support for a stable European banking system and Environment Secretary Michael Gove's "crusading zeal" on animal welfare as examples of the UK determination to lead a "race to the top."

However, Mr Davis insisted the Government shall continue with its track record of high standards outside the EU and has no intention of engaging in a new "Anglo-Saxon race to the bottom."

"I know that for one reason or another there are some people who have sought to question that these really are our intentions," he said.

"They fear that Brexit could lead to an Anglo-Saxon race to the bottom, with Britain plunged into a Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction.

"These fears about a race to the bottom are based on nothing - not history, not intention, nor interest."

Michael Gove's 'crusading zeal' for animal welfare is an examples of the UK determination to lead a 'race to the top', Mr Davis said. Credit: PA

His intervention comes amid growing calls from EU leaders for Britain to spell out exactly what kind of agreement it is seeking with Brussels.

The Haltemprice and Howden MP said it is the interests of both sides to be able to continue to trust each other's regulations and the institutions that enforce them after Brexit.

"Such mutual recognition will naturally require close, even-handed co-operation between these authorities and a common set of principles to guide them," he said.

"This will be a crucial part of ensuring our future economic partnership is as open and trade remains as frictionless as possible.

"I am certain that is in the interests of both sides and, because of that, I am certain that we can get this right."

Mr Davis continued that when one side or the other wishes to change its regulations, it will be essential to ensure it does not lead to the creation of "unnecessary barriers" to trade.

"Take a car produced here in Austria to be exported to the UK.

"Currently, that vehicle only has to undergo one series of approvals, in one country, to show that it meets the required regulatory standards and those approvals are accepted across the European Union," he said.

"That's exactly the sort of arrangement we want to see maintained even after we leave the European Union."