Cabinet 'prepared to support May's increased Brexit bill offer'

Posted On: 
20th November 2017

Ministers will reportedly give Theresa May their backing to offer Brussels a higher Brexit 'divorce bill' in a bid to kick-start trade negotiations with the EU. 

Theresa May meeting European Council president Donald Tusk in September

So far the Prime Minister has only committed to handing over €​20bn to the bloc to cover the UK's financial liabilities for the EU's current multi-annual financial framework.

But the Financial Times reports that tomorrow Cabinet will agree to a much higher sum as they try to break the deadlock in talks with the bloc.

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One unnamed minister said the offer could rise to €​40bn - significantly closer to the EU's preferred figure of around €​60bn.

The president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said last week he wanted to see "much more progress" from the British side by the beginning of December on the key issues of the exit payment and the Irish border. 

Only then will EU leaders give the green light to the next phase of talks when they meet for the crucial December 14-15 European Council.

Yesterday Chancellor Philip Hammond said the Government was "on the brink of making some serious movement forward in our negotiations with the EU", although there has been no official move on the financial settlement. 

Mrs May will today chair her Brexit sub-committee - made up of 10 key ministers - and the FT understands that Brexiteers Michael Gove, Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and David Davis are prepared to give leeway over the divorce bill in order to get talks moving. 

"Everyone wants to move on to break the deadlock and move on to phase two of the talks," an ally of Mrs May told the paper.