Raab toughens stance on Brexit ‘divorce bill’

Raab toughens stance on Brexit ‘divorce bill’, says UK may not pay £39bn if trade talks stall – as it happened.

Dominic Raab, the new Brexit secretary, has signalled that the government will toughen its stance on the Brexit “divorce bill”, and that it wants the right to withhold some of the £39bn owed if the EU stalls on trade talks after March next year.

The commitment to hand over the money will be in the withdrawal agreement that the UK must sign before Brexit, and previously the government accepted that, having signed the deal, it would have to pay over the money regardless of what happened subsequently. The EU, which says the £39bn is not a payment for a good trade deal but just money the UK owes the EU anyway, is likely to resist.

Raab made the proposal as he made a statement to MPs about the government’s Brexit white paper, which says the government wants businesses to be able to move “their talented people” from the UK to the EU – and vice versa – after Brexit. Reaction to the white paper in the Commons from Conservative MPs was largely negative, and Brexiters were particularly critical of a proposal that they said would effectively keep the UK under the control of the European court of justice in relation to many regulations.

In the Lords, Lord Bridges, a former Brexit minister, said the government should be more “honest” about this and admit that there would be an ongoing role for the ECJ.

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Source: www.newsdevelops.com

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