David Davis refuses to settle Brexit divorce bill until end of negotiations

David Davis and Michel BarnierWiktor Dabkowski/DPA/PA ImagesDavid Davis and Michel Barnier
  • David Davis refuses to settle Brexit divorce bill until the end of talks.
  • EU has demanded progress on Britain’s financial settlement before it will discuss UK’s future relationship with Europe.
  • Davis says talks have been difficult and “confrontational”.
  • Davis accuses Labour of trying to bounce UK into paying up.

LONDON — Talks over the size of Britain’s divorce bill will continue right up until the end of Brexit negotiations, the Brexit secretary has insisted.

The EU has demanded that Britain makes “sufficient progress” on Britain’s financial settlement to the EU, before it will enter talks over a trade deal.

However, Davis Davis told MPs that negotiations over the divorce bill would continue until all other matters had been settled.

“My expectation is that the money argument will go on for full duration of this negotiation,” Davis said, as he conceded that negotiations had so far been difficult and “confrontational.”

“No-one has ever pretended that [Brexit talks] would be simple or easy,” Davis told MPs, adding that “I’ve always said [they] would be tough, complex and at times confrontational and so it has been proved.”

Davis accused the EU of using “pressure tactics to make us pay” a large financial settlement.

However, he stopped short of following the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, in accusing the EU of “blackmail.”

Davis also suggested that Labour were trying to bounce the government into agreeing to pay large sums to the EU.

“Does Labour want to pay £100bn to get progress in the next month?”, he told MPs. “I hope not. We will do this the proper way.”

Davis’s refusal to give any ground on the divorce bill means that the next stage of Brexit negotiations are likely to be delayed beyond their scheduled start in October.

The Brexit secretary had agreed earlier this year that the negotiations would make “sufficient progress” on Northern Ireland, citizens rights, and Britain’s financial settlement, before moving onto the next phase of talks.

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