Jeremy Corbyn tears into Brussels over Brexit bill 'haggling'

Posted On: 
23rd October 2017

Jeremy Corbyn has launched a full-blooded attack on the EU, accusing them of holding up progress on Brexit by "haggling" over the UK's exit payment. 

Jeremy Corbyn has urged the EU to stop 'haggling' over the Brexit divorce bill
Credit: 
PA

The Labour leader, who was feted on his trip to Brussels last week, hit out at EU leaders to brief that the so-called 'divorce bill' would be an "astronomical" sum.

Neither side has yet made clear how much the UK is expected to cough up as part of the Brexit process, although Theresa May has indicated she will sanction a payment of 20bn to cover commitments in the current multi-annual financial framework (MAFF). 

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However French president Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that the two sides were "a long way" from agreement on the financial issue, one of the key areas for the first round of talks. 

That was despite European Council president Donald Tusk suggesting that discussions on trade and transitional arrangements might begin as early as December.

Addressing tonight's meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, Mr Corbyn said both sides were at fault for the slow progress in negotiations so far.

"I am now getting a worrying Groundhog Day feeling every time Theresa May gives us an update on what she calls the “progress” of Brexit negotiations," he told MPs and peers.

"Government chaos and splits are weakening Britain's negotiating position and damaging the negotiations. So too is the EU’s approach to haggling about money. They need to stop briefing astronomical and unacceptable numbers."

'MOMENTUM' IN TALKS

Earlier the Prime Minister told the House of Commons there was now new impetus to the exit talks and she cautiously expected to start trade talks in December. 

"We haven’t reached a final agreement but it’s going to happen. I have a degree of confidence that we will be able to get to the point of sufficient progress by December," she told MPs.

“After the Florence speech there is a new momentum. The Florence speech was a step forward and there should be a positive response to the willingness to work on the interim period and there has been established, a momentum.