How much is our Brexit bill?

Downing Street has dismissed a report that the UK is prepared to pay a €40bn bill to leave the European Union, says Bloomberg.com, while leading Brexit supporters protested at paying anything at all. John Redwood has stated that “there is absolutely no legal need or political need to offer them anything at all, full stop”.

The next round of talks with the EU is scheduled for later this month. The problem, says David Allen Green on FT.com, is that the UK “lost the crucial argument on sequencing”. Brussels has made a post-Brexit trade agreement with the EU conditional on adequate progress on other issues: EU citizens’ rights, the Irish border, and the Brexit bill.

It’s hard to see negotiations on our future trading relationship being concluded before March 2019 if we don’t pay up, agrees Tom Harris in The Daily Telegraph.  And the mooted figure of €40bn “is substantially lower than the €100bn figure being thrown around with abandon a few weeks ago”. Bear in mind that “the only way to make good on Leavers’ predictions of economic prosperity outside the EU is to make sure that that free-trade deal is done”.

If it isn’t, we will end up trading on WTO rules and the trade barriers to Europe would result in a “hefty bill”. So it’s surely better to pay some money for a few years than “pay… forever via tariffs”. Especially if it’s just three years’ of our annual current fee. Opponents of this “modest… concession” are “displaying all the judgment and sense that landed their party in opposition for 13 years.”