David Davis says Britain will not pay the £39 billion Brexit bill if EU doesn't offer a detailed deal

Jack Taylor/Getty ImagesConservative MP David Davis arrives at Downing Street on July 13, 2016 in London, England.
  • David Davis says MPs could block a £39 billion Brexit payment to the EU if Brussels does not offer “substantive” information about the future UK-EU relationship in the withdrawal deal.
  • The EU wants to negotiate the finer points of the future relationship during an implementation period.
  • However, Brexit Secretary David said on Thursday there was “no point having an implementation period if you’re not sure what you’re going to implement.”
  • The UK and EU hope to conclude a final Brexit deal by October.

LONDON – David Davis has warned the European Union that MPs could block a £39 billion Brexit bill – and a final Brexit deal – if “substantive” information on the future relationship is not included in the withdrawal deal.

The Brexit Secretary, speaking at a Wall Street Journal event in London, said the final deal – which both sides hope to agree by October – should include “a lot of detail” on the future relationship in key areas such as regulation and trade.

EU negotiators reportedly want the deal to include a vague political declaration – sometimes known as a “heads of agreement” – and then thrash out the details during a transition phase after Britain leaves in March next year.

However, Davis said today that there was “no point having an implementation period if you’re not sure what you’re going to implement.”

“The withdrawal agreement is a payment of up to £39 billion. It’s a lot of money, and parliament is unlikely to sign off on it unless we can be pretty substantive about what is going to be there in the long run,” he said.

Davis reportedly won a key internal battle within the UK negotiating team this week when he sent British civil servants to begin detailed negotiations on the future trade relationship with Brussels.

According to a Telegraph report, he sent a letter on Tuesday to Whitehall officials telling them to come up with key Brexit goals ahead of summer talks on the exit deal. Davis believes the majority of a future trade agreement can be agreed in the five months of Article 50 negotiations which remain.

He is said to have clashed with Theresa May’s chief Brexit negotiator, Olly Robbins, who reportedly believes a broad, high-level agreement is preferable and more achievable in the time that remains in negotiations.

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