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Downing St insists UK will spend 'no more than it needs' on Brexit 'divorce bill'

2 min read

Downing St has played down suggestions the UK is prepared to pay £36bn to settle its so-called 'divorce bill' from Brussels.

Reports over the weekend suggested ministers had earmarked the sum to settle Britain's existing financial commitments with the EU.

An unnamed No 10 source told the Guardian the figure was "inaccurate speculation", while a spokesman talking to the Financial Times also refused to commit to any number.

“As the secretary of state for Exiting the European Union has made clear, we will meet our international responsibilities but the UK will not pay more than it needs to," he said.

The idea of a hefty bill has drawn condemnation from Tory eurosceptics, with Jacob Rees-Mogg saying there was "no logic" to the £36bn figure.



That sentiment was echoed by Peter Bone, another prominent Leave campaigner and vocal backbencher.

"It would be totally bizarre to give the EU any money, let alone £36bn, given also that over the years that we have been in the EU or its predecessor we have given them, net, over £200bn." the Wellingborough MP said.

Another government source expressed disquiet at the way important issues were being discussed while many senior ministers were away on summer holiday.

"It feels like a lot of work is going on over the Summer and a lot of decisions are being made while the Cabinet is out of the loop. It's not good," they told the Daily Telegraph. 

"Cynics would say that they are trying to ram it though while there isn't time for proper scrutiny."

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