Downing Street responds to claims UK will pay a £36bn Brexit divorce bill

Downing Street sources have played down reports that the UK is prepared to pay a divorce bill of up to £36bn to try and force progress in stalled Brexit talks.

The figure amounting to some €40bn would be offered in a bid to push discussions on from withdrawal and towards a future trade deal, according to reports.

 

 

Theresa May is expected to give a speech towards the end of the summer fleshing out details of any offer to Brussels, while a series of papers are expected in coming weeks on how the UK proposes to manage a transition.

A Number 10 official told The Independentthat reports the Government was preparing to offer the EU payments of €10bn every year for up to three years after Brexit were “highly speculative and wrong”.

It was claimed on Sunday that the commitment to the ongoing budget payments would then be supplemented with additional money to make up the €40bn figure that UK negotiators hope will break the deadlock in talks.

The Sunday Telegraph quoted a Whitehall source saying: “We know that [the EU’s] position is €60bn, but the actual bottom line is €50bn.

“Ours is closer to €30bn, but the landing zone is €40bn even if the public and politicians are not all there yet.”

Brexit Secretary David Davis and Ms May have both said that the Government would work with Brussels to determine a fair settlement of the UK's “rights and obligations”.

News of the figure will be controversial among some Conservative MPs who believe the UK should not pay as much, or anything at all. Just three weeks ago Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said EU leaders could “go whistle” if they expected Britain to pay an “exorbitant” divorce bill.

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