Britain Will Not Pay Full ‘Divorce Bill’ If EU Refuses to Agree a Trade Deal

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David Davis’s successor as Secretary of State for Brexit, Dominic Raab, has said Britain will not pay a £39 billion ‘divorce bill’ to the European Union if it refuses to come to a formal exit agreement.

In an article for The Telegraph ahead of the publication of a new tranche of ‘No Deal’ preparation papers, the Brexit Secretary ally quoted World Trade Organization (WTO) boss Roberto Azevedo’s assessment of ‘No Deal’, which was that it would not be “a walk in the park”, but would “not be the end of the world”, either.

“There would be some countervailing opportunities. We could negotiate and bring into force new free trade deals straight away. We would see the immediate return of full legislative and regulatory control – including over immigration,” he wrote.

“And the Government would not pay the terms of the financial settlement, as agreed with the EU as part of the Withdrawal Agreement. There’s no deal without the whole deal.”

Raab confirmed in a subsequent interview with the BBC that, while the United Kingdom would still meet its “strict legal obligations” to the European Union, the sum involved would be “significantly, substantially” less than the £39 billion agreed in the first phase of the Brexit negotiations — without Brussels making any obvious concession in return.

The Michael Gove ally insisted that his warning is “not a threat and it’s not an ultimatum, it’s a statement of fact”.

The £39 billion figure is not a fixed sum, but an estimate calculated on the basis of an agreed formula. Critics including former Brexit minister David Jones have expressed fears that the real figure could end up being far, far higher.

The seemingly tough words from Cabinet member Raab come among growing discontent by Brexit-supporting members of Parliament. As reported by Breitbart London, up to 50 Conservative MPs were openly plotting the downfall of the Prime Minister on Tuesday, a remarkable show of force and open rebellion strongly suggesting a leadership challenge could be imminent.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery
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