Boris’s EU Withdrawal Agreement May Include £160 Billion In EU Loan Bills

Conservative Party MP Iain Duncan Smith speaks at a political rally entitled 'Lets Go WTO' hosted by pro-Brexit lobby group Leave Means Leave in London on January 17, 2019. - British Prime Minister Theresa May scrambled to put together a new Brexit strategy on Thursday after MPs rejected her EU …
TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith has called on the British government to scrap the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement after it was revealed that the United Kingdom could be on the hook for billions in European Union loan payments.

Despite formally leaving the European Union in January, and with the current membership-in-all-but-name “transition period” set to end in December, it has been revealed that the United Kingdom possibly faces £160 billion in loan payments on top of the £39 billion so-called divorce settlement.

The loan payments are reportedly due to Britain’s ties to the European Investment Bank and the European Financial Stability Mechanism, which doles out money to EU member-states throughout the bloc.

Experts have estimated that the 12 per cent liability that Britain is required to pay under the current agreement could be £160 billion, according to The Sun.

This is probably an underestimate, though, as the cost of the loan share will likely rise as a result of Chinese coronavirus bailouts being currently being handed out by Brussels.

Writing on social media, Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: “Whilst the UK wants to have a good trade relationship with the EU as a sovereign state, the EU has different ideas. They want our money, and they want to stop us [from] being a competitor. The Withdrawal Agreement (WA) we signed last year sadly helps them.”

The former Tory leader went on to say that in order to “avoid their own budget black hole, the EU gets £39 billion as a ‘divorce payment’ from us, reflecting our share of the current EU budget. But it gets worse. Buried in the fine print, unnoticed by many, is the fact we remain hooked into the EU’s loan book.

“You can’t be half in the EU and half out, the problem is the [Withdrawal Agreement]. It costs too much, and it denies us true national independence. This WA giving the EU future control over us has to go,” he insisted.

Under the loan payment scheme, the United Kingdom may be paying money to the European Union all the way into the 2040s, over 20 years after leaving the bloc.

Sir Iain and other senior members of the Tory Party have reportedly begun lobbying Prime Minister Boris Johnson to remove the loan liability from the Withdrawal Agreement before the transition period ends on December 31st, in order to ensure a “clean break” from Brussels.

On Tuesday, European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said that the Withdrawal Agreement is a “firm document” that “stands”.

“I think it’s very clear that we are not going to get into a debate with British politicians on liabilities or any other of the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement,” he declared.

Recent reports have indicated that the prospect of the United Kingdom and the European Union reaching a deal before the end of the transition period is increasingly unlikely, meaning that the British could leave at the end of the year and begin trading with the bloc on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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