Brexit Secretary insists UK will not pay £84 billion EU divorce bill

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

The Brexit Secretary has rejected suggestions the UK will be forced to pay a staggering £84.5bn divorce bill when it leaves the EU.

David Davis insists Britain will not be stumping up the sum despite reports in the Financial Times that Brussels has demanded the inflated figure.

The report states the UK could receive calls to contribute to post-Brexit farming payments and may be blocked from obtaining a share of EU assets.

But Mr Davis has said Brussels will only receive what it is legally owed, dismissing as “laughable” reports that Prime Minister Theresa May would be barred from negotiating with her counterparts.

He told Good Morning Britain: ”It was 50 billion at one point, 60 billion, 100 billion, we have not seen a number.

Brexit Secretary David Davis rejected suggestions that Britain would be paying a huge EU divorce bill (Rex)

“We have said we will meet our international obligations, but there will be our international obligations including assets and liabilities and there will be the ones that are correct in law, not just the ones the Commission want.”

Pressed on reports that the eventual divorce figure could reach up to €100 billion, he said: “We will not be paying 100 billion.”

He added: “We will do it (negotiate) in the meeting, we will do it properly, we will take our responsibility seriously.

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“What we’ve got to do is to discuss in detail what the rights and obligations are.”

He also claimed the EU could not bar the Prime Minister from joining Brexit discussions at future EU heads of government meetings while the UK remained a member state.

According to reports, Brussels was plotting to limit Mrs May’s Brexit discussions to direct meetings with the European Commission’s lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier.

Theresa May was reported to have had a tense meeting with EC president Jean-Claude Juncker (PA)

Such a move would run contrary to Mrs May’s claim that she would be negotiating directly on the terms of Brexit with fellow European leaders.

Mr Davis told the programme: “The decisions in this exercise at the end of the day are taken in Council – that’s a gathering of all the leaders of the European Union – and, frankly, until the day we leave, we are full members of the Union, we have every right to attend every Council and we will exercise our right.

“Just as we are obeying the laws of the Union, exactly to the letter, we are also going to expect our rights.

The Prime Minister said she could be a “bloody difficult woman” when it came to Brexit negotiations (Rex)

“The idea that somehow one side of the negotiation can dictate how the other side runs a negotiation is laughable.

“This is an exercise in trying to shape public opinion and trying to pressurise us – it won’t work.”

Mrs May boasted on Tuesday about being a “bloody difficult woman”, after reports that a meeting between the PM and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Downing Street last week had seen several tense moments.

The Prime Minister told the BBC: “During the Conservative Party leadership campaign I was described by one of my colleagues as a bloody difficult woman.

“And I said at the time the next person to find that out will be Jean-Claude Juncker.”

Tory MP Sir Bill Cash told the Daily Telegraph he believed Germany and the EU were trying to influence the General Election, saying: “What they are doing is trying to exploit a new kind of Project Fear and that is not going to work on the British people.”

Top pic: PA