David Davis denies reports Government has agreed to pay £50bn EU 'divorce bill' behind closed doors

Brexit Secretary labels reports that the Government had agreed to a £50bn divorce bill 'complete nonsense'

Tom Peck
Sunday 03 September 2017 10:28
Comments
Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis and European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier
Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis and European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier

Brexit Secretary David Davis has denied reports the Government privately agreed on a £50bn figure for its “divorce bill” with the European Union, but conceded there will be a bill to pay.

Mr Davis told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show the story reported this morning was “complete nonsense”, though the figure reported is the same as has been privately briefed for months.

Mr Davis said “the strict position is that there is no enforceable bill” the UK must pay the EU, but added: “We are a country that meets its obligations. They may not be legal, they may be political or moral.

“The era of big payments to the European Union is coming to an end. There will still be payments, for space programmes, for nuclear research, and so on.

“It is best that we leave on proper negotiated terms. There are issues if you just walk away. It can be done, but there are issues.”

According to reports in several Sunday newspapers, the Prime Minister is quietly preparing to approve a bill that would see the UK pay between £7bn and £17bn a year to the EU for three years after Britain leaves in 2019.

It reports that Britain would pay up to £17bn a year to Brussels for three years after Brexit, but cease doing so by the time of the 2022 general election.

This, the Government hopes, would allow the negotiations to move on from the “divorce bill” and on to the subject of future trading relations.

The EU says trade can only be discussed once “sufficient progress” is made on the financial settlement, citizens’ rights and the Irish border.

Mr Davis said whether “sufficient progress” had been made was “up to them, not up to us”.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in