UK Brexit Minister David Davis has said that Britain will not pay £40 to the European Union as it leaves the bloc.
According to The Times, a “Brussels source” said Saturday that Britain was prepared to pay such an amount, however, Davis told BBC television that “they sort of made that up.”
“I’m not going to do an actual number on air, it would be ridiculous to do that, but we have a fairly clear idea where we’re going on this,” he said.
EU claims for Britain to contribute to the bloc’s future pension pot, he said, are “debatable to say the least.”
“The last time we went through line by line and challenged quite a lot of the legal basis of these things and we’ll continue to do that.”
According to an August report by the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, the UK expressed its willingness to pay up to 40 billion euros to the bloc as it wanted considerable progress on settling Britain’s liabilities before Brexit talks resumed.
The report added that Britain would pay that amount to settle its accounts only if the EU considered it as part of a deal for future trading arrangements.
On Friday, British Prime Minister Theresa May set out her plan for future ties with the bloc in an attempt to break the deadlock in Brexit negotiations.
She put the transition period at around two years after the UK officially leaves in 2019, during which time Britain would still largely be under current EU rules.
May, who was speaking in the Italian city of Florence on Friday, said her country’s divorce from the EU does not mean that the country wishes to be a partner, and not a member state of the EU.
She also said that the UK would leave the European Single Market, but noted that London still wanted economic relations with the bloc and it would not turn its back on Europe.
Meanwhile, several Labour lawmakers and trade union leaders insisted in a letter that the UK must commit to staying in the European Union’s single market after Brexit.
In an open letter to their leader, MPs called on Jeremy Corbyn to “go further” than his current position to make sure Britain stays in the single market during any transition after Brexit.
“We have watched with dismay as the government has used a narrow referendum result to justify an extreme approach to Brexit,” the lawmakers said in a letter published in Britain’s Observer newspaper.
“So at our conference this week, Labour should commit to staying in the Single Market and Customs Union – ruling out no options for how to achieve this.”—Agencies