£39bn divorce bill won’t bring deal: minister
A Brexit minister has admitted MPs will be asked to authorise paying up to £39 billion to Brussels without the guarantee of a future trade deal.
Suella Braverman, a junior minister at David Davis’ Department for Exiting the EU, said the divorce bill would be confirmed before there was any legal deal on the trade relationship.
There was no “conditionality” on the £39 billion bill being linked to a trade deal within the UK’s draft withdrawal agreement, she explained.
But Braverman said “a duty of good faith” was agreed at talks.
This month, Davis mentioned “conditionalities” in the UK’s withdrawal agreement in relation to a trade deal.
But Braverman told the House of Commons Brexit committee that the nearly complete withdrawal deal “doesn’t contain aspects” of conditionality.
Prime Minister Theresa May is due to bring the European Union Withdrawal Bill back to Parliament for votes that will mean a showdown for her divided Conservative Party.
The votes will show how many of her colleagues are prepared to rebel against her over whether Britain should join a customs union with the EU. Her Brexit “war cabinet” is split over the sort of customs relationship it should ask for with Brussels, but May is committed to forcing a decision by the end of next month when EU leaders meet for a summit.
The technology proposed by pro-leave members of her cabinet would cost business up to £20 billion a year, according to Jon Thompson, head of revenue and customs.
Brexit will be a “train wreck” and Conservative MPs should get rid of May to stay in power, the former Vote Leave director Dominic Cummings has claimed.
He said the civil service had made “no real preparations” for leaving the EU as most were committed to remain.
Unless the Tories “changed the political landscape”, they risked losing power to Labour, he said, in reference to May’s bungling performance in the June 2017 general election.
In an open letter to Conservatives on his blog, Cummings said May’s government had “irretrievably botched” Brexit, failing to take the “basic steps” needed for leaving the EU with none of the infrastructure required to manage trade as a third country being built.
He said ministers who sought to prepare were being “blocked” by a civil service who wanted the “maintenance of this broken system and keeping Britain as closely tied to the EU as possible”.
“Whitehall’s real preparations are for the continuation of EU law and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice,” the controversial figure posted.
“The expectation is that MPs will end up accepting the terrible agreement as voting it down would be to invite chaos.
“In short, the state has made no preparations to leave and plans to make no preparations to leave even after leaving.”
Anti-Brexit protesters in Manchester last year. Picture credit: Eurasia Times