Published On: Tue, Aug 8th, 2017

EU is deluded and ‘has no legal basis’ for £90 billion divorce bill demand, Tory MP says


The former Conservative leadership candidate claims the Government has made a “generous offer to the EU” and no further barriers should be implemented.

Mr Redwood said: “The UK has always been clear that it will pay the EU what it owes under the Treaty and its legal commitments.

“This means we will go on paying our budget contributions up to the end of March 2019 when we leave. There is no legal power for ministers to make additional payments to the EU on an ex gratia basis.

“The UK has also made a generous offer for our future relationship with the EU. We propose that they continue to have tariff-free access to our market with no new barriers imposed.

“This would help them greatly given the large surplus on trade they enjoy with us.”

The EU has demanded a divorce bill from the UK and reports suggest the French government is openly seeking just under £90billion.

Three senior Whitehall officials recently claimed the Government is willing to break the deadlock in negotiations by offering a take it or leave it deal, but Mr Redwood is adamant that this will not be necessary.

Writing in the i, the MP for Wokingham added: “Some say we need to make a payment to get the EU to talk about trade. I see no need to do that.

“They will want to talk about trade, given the impact WTO [World Trade Organisation] rules and tariffs could have on their exports.

“They will need to explain to the farmers and carmakers of the EU if they fail to engage early enough on these matters and end up with WTO rules and tariffs as these are worse than the current arrangements in those sectors.”

During the referendum campaign Vote Leave claimed the EU was costing the UK £350million every week which could be money spent on the NHS, and Mr Redwood said the public is looking forward to the Government spending the savings.

He added: “No one can doubt that taking back control of our money was an important part of the Leave campaign.

“People look forward to being able to spend our money on our own priorities. Most in the UK agree we should spend more on the NHS and social care.

“Paying for it out of the savings on the EU budget makes sense.”

It follows reports that the UK made a net payment of roughly £156million a week to the EU in 2016/17.

Despite this being the lowest level for five years Treasury figures suggest the total amount for the 12 months to March 2017 was £8.1billion.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said: “The Leave campaign promised £350m extra a week for the NHS.

“Not only have the Brexiteers failed to stump up this extra cash, but it turns out the UK’s contribution to the EU was less than half what they claimed.

“This contribution pales in comparison to the economic benefits we get from being part of the single market and customs union.”



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