David Davis tells Jacob Rees-Mogg: 'We will definitely face a post-Brexit divorce bill'

Brexit: David Davis to face MPs over progress of negotiations

The Brexit Secretary has faced a grilling from MPs this morning

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Brexit Secretary David Davis has confronted Jacob Rees-Mogg on Brexit - and told his fellow Tory MP that the UK will definitely face a divorce bill after it leaves the EU.

Davis, facing a grilling by the Commons Brexit Committee, was asked by Rees-Mogg whether he agreed with the House of Lords committee assessment that the UK will not owe anything to the EU when it quits the bloc.

Davis says he does not accept that assessment, suggesting that the UK's negotiators accept they have to make a financial settlement.

When asked how much the EU had asked for, Davis said "100 billion" had been mooted - but the EU would have added more had Britain settled on that figure.

However there was some good news for Brexiteers, as he added that he believes the UK will only legally owe money to the EU for around a year once the Brexit process is complete. 

Davis also said there are different types of 'no-deal' scenario. If the UK ends up with what he describes as a hostile no-deal, then the UK would have no obligation to pay anything to Brussels.

On the transition deal, Davis said he expects an agreement to be struck by the end of the first quarter of 2018, adding that the government wants an arrangement that closely matches the status quo. He did warn, however, that the EU may require a higher price in the final financial settlement if the UK wants a transition deal longer than two years.

When asked by Tory MP Peter Bone whether it would be better simply to extend Britain's membership of the EU, rather than implement a transition deal, Davis suggested this wasn't really an option as people had voted to leave and this wish needs to be respected.

Quizzed on the prospect of a Canada-style trade deal with Brussels, Davis said it was unlikely that Britain would end up with such an agreement as Theresa May has made clear she wants a bespoke compact.

There was also time for a warning about the EU's negotiating strategy, with Davis saying there is a danger that the bloc's negotiators may introduce "sudden, last-minute claims" into the talks and these could jeopardise the chances of a deal.