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David Davis: Britain will continue making payments to the EU after Brexit

Agnes Chambre

2 min read

Britain will continue making payments to the European Union after Brexit, David Davis admitted yesterday. 

In what appeared to be a major concession to Brussels, the Brexit Secretary said the UK has “obligations” to fulfill that would “survive the UK’s withdrawal”. 

The comment comes ahead of talks next week between Mr Davis and Michel Barnier, the European Union's chief negotiator in the crunch talks. 

It also puts the Brexit Secretary at odds with Boris Johnson, who this week agreed that the EU could "go whistle" if it wanted "a penny piece" from the UK after the country leaves the bloc.

Mr Barnier shot back the next day saying: “I am not hearing any whistling, just the clock ticking.”

The size of the divorce bill the UK will have to pay - estimated in some quarters to be as high as £80bn - is set to be one of the most contentious parts of the Brexit negotiations.

In his statement, released yesterday to coincide with the publication of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, Mr Davis said: "The Government recognises that the UK has obligations to the EU, and the EU obligations to the UK, that will survive the UK’s withdrawal — and that these need to be resolved."

A Whitehall source told The Times: "The Government is doing this now because we have to make clear that we are going to co-operate constructively if we want to begin talks on future trading relations in the autumn.” Another source told the paper: “We have not been as explicit as this or put it in those terms before."

An EU official told the paper: “It is a very different tone from Boris Johnson, and it is good to see such a constructive approach ahead of Monday’s meeting.” 

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