Brexit-backing Cabinet ministers 'demand £3bn EU divorce bill cap'

Posted On: 
21st March 2017

Philip Hammond has come under pressure from eurosceptic Cabinet ministers to cap the upcoming Brexit ‘divorce bill’ at just £3bn, it has been reported.

A Cabinet row is brewing over the final Brexit divorce bill from Brussels
PA Images

According to the Times the Chancellor has been told colleagues are “categorically against paying in a big lump sum” to cover Britain’s liabilities once it quits the EU.

Some estimates have put the expected bill - for previously made spending commitments and pension liabilities - at around £50bn.

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Earlier this month Mr Hammond described Britain as “a nation that honours its obligations - and if we do have any bills that fall to be paid we’ll obviously deal with them in the proper way”

Cabinet members who backed Brexit feel Mr Hammond will not be tough enough to barter the figure down to a sum they feel reasonable.

“As the Prime Minister said, we do not want to pay huge sums,” one top Government source told the Times.

"We think anything over £2 billion or £3 billion is not possible.

“There are those round the Cabinet table who think we are going to have to pay a huge amount to get out, and the Chancellor is on that side.”

Another said: “We are categorically against paying in a big lump sum. Nor do they want it agreed before trade negotiations.

“People are horrified by the chancellor’s suggestion of paying the bills that are owed.”

But allies of the Chancellor rejected the charge he was willing to pay above the odds and accused those concerned of overstating their position. 

The bill is expected to be one of the first bones of contention after Theresa May triggers the exit process on 29 March.