United Kingdom minister: European Union commission criticism of Brexit talks was 'silly'

Kristopher Drake
September 3, 2017

But a source close to the prime minister told the Sunday Times: 'We were looking at a final bill of £20bn to £30bn, now it will be nearer £50bn'.

However, the Brexit Secretary said the United Kingdom would meet its obligations but would not be drawn on a financial figure.

Reports of a €40bn (£36bn) bill earlier this summer were also dismissed by Number 10.

Mr Davis said: "It's nonsense, the story is completely wrong".

The impasse led to criticism that the United Kingdom was weakening its hand with an obstinate approach but speaking on the Andrew Marr show, Davis said the EU Commission was using time to put pressure on a settlement and was fearful of not getting as much money as it wants.

"Time is not running out".

The latest salvos come after a week of talks in Brussels about the UK's withdrawal from the European Union - scheduled to take place in March 2019 - which increased tensions between the two sides.

"We are saying, "you've given us this enormous bill we'll go through line by line", we gave them a two-and-a-half hour presentation, they even complained about that. Money is incredibly important, it is the thing that frightens them most".

Bluntly, I think it looked a bit silly, because plainly there were things that we've achieved. "The commission puts itself in a silly position if it says nothing has been done". We put people before process.

Mr Barnier continued the sniping at Britain yesterday, telling a conference in Italy that Brexit would be an "educational process" for the United Kingdom because Brits do not realise what they have to give up.

The UK has hit back, saying the European Union does "not want to talk about the future".

Mr Davis said the United Kingdom meant to go through the bill "line by line" and added: "They are finding it hard because we have got good lawyers". "They may not be legal ones, they may be moral or political ones", he said.

He said: "She's a great Prime Minister, I've served for the past 12 months and I've never been less than impressed by the way she runs this country". See our full Brexit phrasebook.

Labour has said it will seek to amend the bill to stop the government from automatically accruing new powers after Brexit.

"We meet worldwide obligations - also want to leave in orderly and smooth manner and in order to do that it's best to leave on amicable terms, on proper terms on negotiated terms and don't just walk away", he added.

Somewhere between zero and €100bn (£84bn) is probably the only accurate answer at the moment. Previously the consensus among the same experts was €60bn. "Starting the new parliamentary session with the withdrawal bill shows that it is now the job of all MPs, including my former colleagues on the Stronger In campaign, to respect the will of the people and get the best possible deal for Britain", he said.

"No Conservative wants a bad Brexit deal, or to do anything that increases the threat of a Corbyn government".

MP Anna Soubry told the Observer that "any suggestion" that challenging the legislation was "treacherous or supporting Jeremy Corbyn is outrageous".

But she added: "For us to grasp the great prize ahead of us, that contribution must fit with our shared aim: to help Britain make a success of Brexit and become that great global country we know we can be". "It will all backfire on them".

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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