EU credit rating hangs on Brexit: S&P
The EU’s credit rating will be damaged if the UK refuses to pay the proposed £50 billion Brexit divorce bill, according to the Standard & Poor’s ratings agency.
It said the EU’s AA credit rating “could come under pressure” if UK Prime Minister Theresa May refused to meet the “financial obligations”.
Brussels is demanding the UK pay to leave the bloc to cover the cost of ongoing pension contributions and financial liabilities.
However, Britain has warned it will pay “nothing like’’ that amount.
The analysis from S&P is likely to boost May’s negotiating position as it highlights the potential danger faced by the EU of allowing a so-called hard Brexit.
The government is apparently examining plans that could see the UK get money back from Brussels instead of paying to leave.
John Redwood, a veteran Conservative Eurosceptic MP, told the Daily Telegraph: “We don’t owe them anything. I assume we won’t be paying one. I don’t think it is a negotiation. There is no legal obligation or legal basis to allow the UK ministers to pay them any money.
“We have to pay our normal contributions up to the date of leaving but there is no provision for any other kind of capital requirement.”
Redwood accused the EU of operating in a “parallel universe” by demanding a Brexit bill.
A House of Lords committee recently said the government was not legally obliged to pay anything to the bloc.
A parliamentary source said: “This is being presented in a binary way as a divorce bill, in which we owe them. It’s not like that.
“It’s more like leaving a gym or a club. You don’t continue to pay for other people to use the facilities after you leave”.
Another parliamentary committee has alleged that foreign governments, such as Russia and China, may have been involved in the collapse of the UK’s voter registration ahead of the June 23 EU referendum.
A report by the House of Commons public administration committee said MPs were concerned about the allegations of foreign interference in the landmark vote.
The committee, while not naming a foreign power, said Russia and China used an approach to cyber attacks based on an understanding of mass psychology and of how to exploit individuals.
The government was forced to extend the deadline to register to vote in the EU referendum after the collapse of the official website on June 7, 100 minutes before the registration deadline.