MPs threaten to BLOCK any big Brexit divorce bill Theresa May agrees with the EU

  • The EU is demanding Britain agrees to divorce bill before trade talks can start
  • Ministers have denied they would consider paying around £50bn as settlement
  • But MPs warn government would strugge to get payment through parliament
Theresa May (pictured in Downing Street last week) is facing demands from the EU to pay a large divorce bill 
Theresa May (pictured in Downing Street last week) is facing demands from the EU to pay a large divorce bill

MPs are threatening to block any big divorce bill Theresa May tries to agree with the EU.

The warnings underline the scale of the challenge the government faces if it signs up to paying large sums of money to Brussels.

The EU has made clear it wants up to £100billion to settle the UK’s ‘liabilities’ when we leave the bloc.

Eurocrats have insisted the principles of the financial divorce must be agreed before they will start talking about trade talks – effectively attempting to hold the UK to ransom.

There are claims ministers might be willing to consider a figure closer to £50billion to end the stand-off- although Brexit Secretary David Davis has dismissed that as ‘total rubbish’.

Even a significantly lower payment could be a serious problem for the government, with leading Eurosceptics insisting an Act of Parliament would be needed to authorise handing over the cash.

Former Cabinet minister John Redwood said he did not believe many MPs would vote in favour of such a payment.

‘The only way UK Ministers could authorise a leaving payment would be to put through an Act of Parliament specifically authorising such an ex gratia payment. I can’t see many Conservative MPs wanting to vote for that,’ he told The Sun.

‘They will also find that if they wanted to make a payment as overseas aid to the EU it would not qualify under our Aid budget criteria, as the EU as a whole is too rich.’

Labour MP Kate Hoey added: ‘I suspect a lot of MPs would in principle vote against any excessive payment.

‘I would vote against paying a big bill unless I could be convinced that all the money we have paid in over many years ahd been taken into account first.

‘But my quick calculations suggest that the British public would be expecting to pay very very little, if anything at all.’

The EU's Michel Barnier (pictured right with David Davis in Brussels last month) has been refusing to talk about trade until after the divorce bill is agreed

Senior Tories John Redwood and Jacob Rees-Mogg made clear the government would struggle to get a bill divorce bill through parliament

Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg, the subject of unlikely speculation about becoming party leader in future, said: ‘Almost certainly there will have to be a vote on any settlement bill.

‘The money has to be voted through by parliament and with MPs facing the fury of voters, it cannot be too much money.

‘The interesting conundrum facing the Commons is that if MPs think that we are paying too much money or for too long a transition period then it won’t get through the Commons and if it’s too Eurosceptic a deal, it won’t get through the Commons either.’

Labour MP Kate Hoey, who campaigned for Leave, said she believed 'lot of MPs' would vote against any 'excessive payment'

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Jane Davies
Jane Davies

I have in mind a nice round figure 0 not one penny is owed to this corrupt organization. Already billions of taxpayers hard earned money has disappeared into the EU black hole and no accounting has been made for decades. One has to ask why have there been no accounts signed off, one theory being that the so called management of the EU has wasted so much on perks, luxury travel, unnecessary vanity projects and into the deep pockets of certain individuals that they daren’t fess up. I hope all this talk in the article means that politicians realise, at… Read more »

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