Brexit secretary David Davis says the UK will not pay a €100 billion (£85 billion) bill to leave the European Union, despite reports that the figure demanded by Brussels has increased.
But speaking on the ITV programme Good Morning Britain, Davis said the UK would pay the settlement it is legally obliged to provide, “not just what the EU wants”. “We are not supplicants,” he said. “This is a negotiation. They lay down what they want and we lay down what we want.”
When asked, he specifically said the British government “will not be paying €100 billion”.
“We will do it properly,” Davis said. “We will take our responsibilities seriously. What we’ve got to do is discuss in detail what the rights and obligations are. We have said we will meet our international obligations, but there will be our international obligations including assets and liabilities and there will be the ones that are correct in law, not just the ones the Commission want.”
There is still debate about the size of the EU’s “divorce bill” – if there is to be one at all.
While EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier is soon to publish his guidelines for the negotiations, they are not likely to include specific figures, and the final deal will be hard-fought.
A recent report from the House of Lords European Union committee said that the EU cannot force the UK to pay a penny of any potential settlement. However, it conceded that payments would likely be needed to secure benefits like access to the single market.
Following reports of a “disastrous” dinner between the UK and EU figures earlier this week, Theresa May said Jean-Claude Juncker would discover she could be a “bloody difficult woman”.