Posts Tagged ‘Philip Hammond’

UK treasury chief accuses EU of paranoia over Brexit

January 13, 2018

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said the EU should stop threatening to punish Britain for its decision to leave the bloc and instead offer a positive vision for what a post-Brexit relationship might look like.(Reuters)
BERLIN: Britain’s treasury chief has accused the European Union of “paranoia” over Brexit.
Philip Hammond says the EU should stop threatening to punish Britain for its decision to leave the bloc and instead offer a positive vision for what a post-Brexit relationship might look like.
British officials are trying to put the onus on Brussels in the divorce negotiations and downplay the idea that quitting the EU might end up harming Britain.
Hammond told German weekly Welt am Sonntag in an interview published Saturday that those hoping London might do a U-turn on Brexit should “stop harking on about this illusion.”
Hammond also was quoted as saying that a future free trade deal between Britain and the EU has to include services, which make up 80 percent of the UK economy.

By Chris Graham 

Political leaders and campaigners calling for Britain to reverse the results of the EU referendum should “stop harking on” about what amounts to an “illusion”, Philip Hammond has said.

The Chancellor accused European leaders of making “only backward-looking” statements such as, “are you sure you want to leave?”

He also described EU fears that a generous deal for the UK could encourage other countries to leave the trading bloc, as “paranoia” – saying Brussels should do more to keep existing members rather than “threatening members who decide to leave”.

Mr Hammond’s comments, during a visit to Berlin, follow persistent calls by some political figures for the UK to hold a second referendum on leaving the EU.

But in an interview with the Welt am Sonntag  newspaper, Mr Hammond was critical of European leaders remaining focused on whether Britain could yet stay in the EU. Instead they should be…

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German hostility risks derailing UK plans for Brexit trade deal — Hammond and Davis urge EU to avoid ‘unnecessary barriers’ to trade

January 10, 2018


Britain’s plan for a bespoke Brexit trade deal is at risk of being derailed by German opposition even before negotiations on the EU-UK future relationship begin later this year, the Telegraph can reveal.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is strongly opposed to a British plan for so-called “managed divergence” from the EU after Brexit, with senior EU officials and experts warning that the German leader considers the idea another ruse for Britain to “have its cake and eat it”.

The staunch German opposition to UK thinking on Brexit emerged as Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, and David Davis, the Brexit secretary, were due to arrive in Germany on Wednesday for a joint charm offensive.

The pair will travel to Berlin and Munich respectively to appeal for more pragmatism from Europe as a reward for the UK’s decision to agree to a €45billion Brexit bill last December.

Mr Hammond and Mr Davis will…

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Hammond and Davis urge EU to avoid ‘unnecessary barriers’ to trade with UK

Chancellor and Brexit Secretary make a pitch to German business leaders as part of bid for ‘ambitious’ future trade deal

By Lizzy Buchan Political Correspondent

European leaders have been told to avoid creating “unnecessary barriers” to trade between the EU and the UK after Brexit.

Chancellor Philip Hammond and Brexit Secretary David Davis have made a pitch to German business leaders, where they called for a bespoke post-Brexit trade deal with the EU which would be the “most ambitious in the world”.

The Cabinet ministers launched a charm offensive with trips to Germany on Wednesday, which came after EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told European companies to start preparing for increased “friction” in trade with the UK.

In a joint article for the Frankfurter Allgemeinenewspaper, Mr Hammond and Mr Davis said: “As two of Europe’s biggest economies, it makes no sense to either Germany or Britain to put in place unnecessary barriers to trade in goods and services that would only damage businesses and economic growth on both sides of the Channel.”

German exports to Britain are worth €113bn per year – amounting to a quarter of all EU exports – while trade between the UK and EU 27 is worth €750bn a year.

In the joint article the two Cabinet ministers acknowledged that Germany and other EU members want to protect the integrity of the single market “and that without all the obligations of EU membership third countries cannot have all the benefits”.

But they insisted that “those priorities are not inconsistent with ours, a deep and special partnership with our closest trading partners and allies”.

The Government has made it clear that the UK wants a bespoke trade deal covering both goods and services after Brexit, with the UK leaving the single market and customs union.

Mr Davis has previously told MPs that he wants the deal to deliver the “exact same benefits” that the UK has as a member of the EU.

The pair said negotiators “should not restrict ourselves to models and deals that already exist”, rejecting Brussels’ view that a Canada-style free-trade deal was the only available option for the UK if it leaves the single market.

Both ministers called for financial services to be covered by the new “economic partnership” – despite opposition to this idea from Brussels – and called for a deal that “supports collaboration within the European banking sector, rather than forcing it to fragment”.

In a speech on Tuesday, Mr Barnier said a trade deal could include regulatory co-operation on financial services but he warned that the EU would not be willing to give up protections drawn up in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

David Davis attacks EU’s ‘damaging’ no-deal Brexit planning

January 9, 2018
Minister’s letter to PM says Brussels guidance to companies is threat to UK interests

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Jim Pickard in London and Alex Barker in Brussels

Financial Times (FT)

David Davis has consulted lawyers over the EU’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit, claiming Brussels’ planning is harming British business and breaching the UK’s rights as a member state.

In a letter sent to Theresa May, UK prime minister, last month and seen by the Financial Times, the Brexit secretary pointed to EU “measures” that could jeopardise existing contracts or force British companies to decamp to the continent if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Mr Davis said in the letter that he would ask the European Commission to revise its guidance to business so it highlights the potential for a future transition and trade deal.

But the demand drew accusations of hypocrisy from some British MPs, given that UK ministers have emphasised the extent of their own no-deal planning.

“The government is implicitly threatening a no-deal scenario,” said Pat McFadden, a Labour member of the Brexit select committee. “It should come as no surprise that the EU is also preparing for this possibility.”

Mr Davis said in his letter to Mrs May that the guidance from EU agencies sees the UK becoming a “third country” when it leaves the bloc in March 2019, without referring to the British government’s hopes of sealing a two-year transition period or trade deal.

Mr Davis said this treated the UK differently from other member states, even before it left the bloc, “in a way which is frequently damaging to UK interests”.

“The EU has adopted a number of measures that put agreements or contracts at risk of being terminated in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario and/or would require UK companies to relocate to another member state,” Mr Davis said.

“The commission had issued similar unilateral statements on company law, civil justice and private international law, transport and the breeding, transportation and protection of live animals.”

The EU is unlikely to be open to revising its guidance to companies. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has repeatedly stressed that companies must prepare for the UK leaving the single market and customs union in 2019.

“On 29 March 2019 at midnight, the United Kingdom will cease to be a member state,” Mr Barnier said in November. “I don’t know if the whole truth has been explained to British businesses on the concrete consequences of Brexit.”

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The UK government has insisted it would be prepared for a “no deal” Brexit if necessary. Philip Hammond, chancellor, set aside £3bn in last November’s Budget for preparations in the case of Britain leaving the EU without a deal.

“It seems extraordinary that the government is exercised about the EU preparing for a no deal scenario when it has set aside £3bn in its most recent Budget to do exactly the same thing,” said Mr McFadden.

Stephen Kinnock, another Labour MP, said the government was “naive” not to imagine that the EU would want to prepare for scenarios including a no-deal Brexit.

“The passive-aggressive tone of the letter demonstrates that the government doesn’t have a clue,” he said. “The relationship between the EU and UK does seem to be falling to pieces.”

An aide from the Department for Exiting the EU confirmed that the letter from Mr Davis to Mrs May was genuine.

“It’s clear there have been a number of instances where the commission, by treating the UK differently despite still being a member of the EU, have not acted in good faith,” the aide said. “It should be no surprise that if the commission attempt to stoke fears about worst-case scenarios. We will correct them and reassure our firms.”

Mr Davis wrote in his letter that the measures amounted to “potential breaches of the UK’s rights as a member” of the EU. He told the prime minister the government “cannot let these actions go unchallenged”.

However, Mr Davis added that he had sought legal advice from officials, only to be warned that any legal challenge would probably fail.

“Any legal action would also be high-risk politically and financially and may not conclude until after we exit,” he said.

While the EU is preparing its position to negotiate a “standstill” transition with the UK until 2021, negotiators in Brussels have stressed that businesses will have no “certainty” until a full withdrawal deal is agreed and ratified later this year or early next.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May expected to reshuffle Cabinet — Expected to clear out the “pale, male and stale” from her ranks

January 8, 2018

Prime Minister May is set to make alterations to her Cabinet in an effort to reassert her authority, according to reports. The move follows several major resignations in May’s government over separate scandals.

Theresa May in Brussels (Reuters/Y. Herman)

The government of British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to undergo a reshuffle on Monday after a series of high-profile departures.

According to government sources, several high-profile ministers should expect to be axed.

While May did not comment on the reshuffle directly, she told the BBC on Sunday that “some changes do have to be made,” and a Labour Party MP, citing information from colleagues in May’s Conservative Party, told French news agency AFP that she would make the changes Monday.

Ministers resign amid numerous scandals

The news comes after May’s confidante and Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green was forced to resign last month over a pornography scandal. Shortly before, Defense Minister Michael Fallon and International Development Minister Priti Patel stepped down in separate controversies.

Fallon resigned in November amid wider sexual harassment allegations in Westminster, while Patel was forced to quit due to unauthorized meetings in Israel.

Key figures like Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Brexit Secretary David Davis are expected to keep their jobs, but Education Secretary Justine Greening and Conservative Party chairman Patrick McLoughlin looked likely to be fired in the reshuffle.

According to the right-wing Daily Mail newspaper, May was expected to clear out the “pale, male and stale” from her ranks, and hopes to promote more women and lawmakers from diverse backgrounds in order to build a government that was “more in the image of the country.”

Although May was severely weakened in June when snap elections failed to deliver the Conservative victory she expected, the prime minister has managed to hold on to power throughout the first major round of Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

“I’m not a quitter. I’m in this for the long term,” May told the BBC, adding: “Obviously, I serve as long as the people want me to serve.”

es/rc (AFP, dpa)

Theresa May Plans Cabinet Shake-Up With Five Ministers Going, Times Says

December 31, 2017


By Thomas Biesheuvel

  • Shuffle of cabinet expected in January, Sunday Times reports
  • Chancellor safe, May aides want new Brexit role for Johnson
Theresa May, U.K. prime minister, gestures while speaking during a news conference at the European Commission building in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is planning to make major changes to her cabinet in the new year, possibly sacking as many as five ministers, according to the Sunday Times.

May has decided to bring younger members of Parliament into her government as part of a series of steps aimed at convincing voters she can do more than Brexit, the newspaper reported, without saying how it obtained the information.

The ministers who could lose their jobs are:

  • Patrick McLoughlin, Conservative party chairman
  • Justine Greening, education secretary
  • Greg Clark, business secretary
  • Chris Grayling, transport secretary
  • Andrea Leadsom, leader of the House of Commons

May’s aides also want a new Brexit role for Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, though the newspaper says his supporters would see this as a demotion. Chancellor Philip Hammond is set to keep his job.

Other possible changes identified by the Times include:

  • Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt replacing Damian Green in his cabinet office role, but without the title of first secretary of state, or deputy premier
  • Brandon Lewis to take over as party chairman
  • Dominic Raab and Damian Hinds to enter the cabinet, with no specific assignments mentioned by the Times

Green, who was dismissed by May on Dec. 20 after making misleading statements during an investigation, was the third member of her cabinet to leave office since the start of November. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon quit over inappropriate sexual behavior while Priti Patel stepped down as international development secretary after she misled the premier over private meetings with Israeli officials.

Brexit: Britons now back Remain over Leave by 10 points, new poll shows

December 17, 2017

Exclusive: The newly published survey gives Remainers their biggest lead since the 2016 referendum

By Joe Watts Political Editor

The Independent

The British public has swung behind staying in the EU by its largest margin since the referendum, with those backing Remain outstripping Leavers by ten points, a new poll has revealed.

The exclusive survey for The Independent by BMG Research showed 51 per cent now back remaining in the union, while 41 per cent want Brexit.

Once “don’t knows” were encouraged to choose one way or the other, or excluded, the Remain lead rises to 11 points. Either way, it is the biggest gap since the June 2016 vote.

It comes as leading political figures write in The Independent tomorrow about whether the country needs a further referendum to decide on Brexit, once terms of departure are known.

Michael HeseltinePeter MandelsonGina Miller and Vince Cable call for a rethink, while Leave campaign mastermind Matthew Elliott and Conservatives James Cleverly and Suella Fernandes demand Brexit is seen through.

Last week again underlined the difficulties of withdrawal, after the EU set out terms for a Brexit transition period that will likely be unacceptable to leading Conservative Eurosceptics.

Theresa May also suffered a damaging defeat in the Commons while trying to pass her key piece of Brexit legislation, before being forced to make a major concession to avoid further embarrassment next week.

Amid the furore, the latest poll indicates British voters have slowly but steadily been turning their backs on Brexit.

When a weighted sample of some 1,400 people were asked: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union, or leave the European Union?” – 51 per cent backed Remain, and 41 per cent backed Leave.

7 per cent said “don’t know” and 1 per cent refused to answer.

After “don’t knows” were either pushed for an answer or otherwise excluded, 55.5 per cent backed Remain and 44.5 backed Leave.

Polling since this time last year appears to demonstrate a clear trend; Leave enjoyed a lead last December which gradually shrank, before turning into a lead for Remain in the month of the general election, that has since grown.

Tory rebellion leads to defeat of Government over Brexit amendment

BMG Research head of polling, Dr Michael Turner, said: “The last time Leave polled ahead of Remain was in February 2017, and since then there has been a slow shift in top-line public opinion in favour of remaining in the EU.

“However, readers should note that digging deeper into the data reveals that this shift has come predominantly from those who did not actually vote in the 2016 referendum, with around nine in ten Leave and Remain voters still unchanged in their view.

“Our polling suggests that about a year ago, those who did not vote in the referendum were broadly split, but today’s poll shows that they are now overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU, by a margin of more than four to one.”

If we are to have control as a nation then we must insist on the democratic right to change our minds

Lord Mandelson

In a special edition of The Independent on Sunday, leading figures in British politics confront the question as to whether it is time to consider a second referendum.

Among the voices is Labour peer Lord Mandelson who says Brexit is not “some natural phenomenon we are consigned to live with”, before adding: “If we are to have control as a nation then we must insist on the democratic right to change our minds.”

Liberal Democrat Leader Mr Cable predicts the Government may need a referendum to help it avoid the political damage of a bad Brexit, while Ms Miller tells how another public vote may be a legal necessity.

Leave campaign mastermind Matthew Elliott brands second referendum a ‘shoddy plot to reverse Brexit’ (Bruce Adams)

Amid ongoing Tory divisions on Europe, ex-cabinet minister Lord Heseltine backs the integrity of MPs trying to reshape Ms May’s plans, while claiming hard-Brexiteers had “betrayed the achievements of Conservative governments from the 1950s onwards”.

But Matthew Elliott hits back at people promoting a further referendum, saying: “Whatever their high-sounding motives, this is nothing more than a shoddy plot to reverse Brexit.”

Reversing Brexit now would be deeply divisive, fundamentally undemocratic and destroy the trust of the British people

Suella Fernandes MP

Rising star Tory MP Ms Fernandes says any attempt to go back on withdrawal would be “deeply divisive, fundamentally undemocratic and destroy the trust of the British people”, while Mr Cleverly argues that “the best chance for a good outcome would be for us all to accept the outcome of the referendum”.

It shows that 18 months on, the fault lines over Brexit run just as deep now as they did in the shocked moments following the 2016 result.

Ms May won a temporary reprieve from conflict with soft-Brexit supporting backbenchers this week, after agreeing to back down over her plan to rigidly enshrine the date of withdrawal in law.

Brexit: Donald Tusk warns Theresa May the hardest part of negotiations is yet to come

But on Saturday, Chancellor Philip Hammond said that the kind of transition period the UK would seek after Brexit would maintain the status quo. This suggests where the next internal battle will lie, given that the stance is likely to be unacceptable to many hard Brexiteers.

The new European Council guidelines to negotiators show that during a transition period, the EU wants the UK to implement all new rules created by the European Commission, without any say in drawing them up.

The guidelines also require the UK to stay in the customs union and single market, maintain free movement and remain under the jurisdiction of the European Court.

Meanwhile, there will be no full trade talks between the two sides until next March and the UK will not be able to sign other trade deals until after the transition period has ended, no earlier than 2021.

SOURCE NOTE: BMG Research interviewed a representative sample of 1,509 adults living in Great Britain between 5 and 8 December. Data are weighted. BMG are members of the British Polling Council and abide by their rules. Full details at

Britain, China speed up bid to link stock markets

December 16, 2017


© POOL/AFP | Visiting British finance minister Philip Hammond has been cozying up to Beijing

BEIJING (AFP) – China and Britain look forward to a “new period of historic opportunity” to deepen cooperation post-Brexit, officials said Saturday, as they accelerated plans to connect the London and Shanghai stock markets.Visiting British finance minister Philip Hammond has been cozying up to Beijing, with the relationship between the two countries growing in importance as the UK contemplates its economic future once it leaves the European Union in 2019.

“Britain’s post-Brexit plans … have ushered in a new period of historic opportunity for China-UK pragmatic cooperation on economic development and trade”, Chinese vice premier Ma Kai told a press briefing, following discussions with Hammond and his accompanying trade delegation.

 Image result for Ma Kai, photos
Ma Kai

The UK has said it will leave the EU’s single market and customs union so that it can strike its own trade deals with countries outside the bloc, making China — and its deep pockets — an attractive ally.

Hammond announced that the two sides had sped up final preparations for a “stock connect” linking the London and Shanghai exchanges, and had agreed to examine the possibility of connecting their bond markets as well.

Hammond added that the two countries planned to set up a new billion-dollar bilateral UK-China investment fund led in some capacity by former British prime minister David Cameron.

They also agreed that the UK Export Finance agency would provide support of up to £25 billion ($33.3 billion) for new projects along China’s Belt and Road infrastructure corridor in Asia, he said.

The agreements come as Frankfurt and Paris are jockeying with London to attract Chinese investments and supersede the British capital as a global financial centre.

Chinese vice finance minister Shi Yaobin told journalists that “the UK welcomes Chinese investment and China also welcomes investment from UK. Both sides are willing to open up to each other’s market.”

He said he hoped Brexit negotiations between Britain and the EU could proceed in a manner “mutually beneficial for both sides” and without “negative impact on the world economy”.

But the talks are proving thorny, with a lack of clarity on what form post-Brexit trade ties might take.

Options for a future relationship include following the model of a recent EU-Canada trade deal, or Norway’s membership in the European Economic Area.

In Beijing, Hammond said Britain would likely seek “bespoke arrangements” on trade instead of following existing models.

“We have a level of trade and commercial integration with the EU-27 which is unlike the situation with any trade partner that the EU has done a trade deal with before,” he said.

China and the UK proclaimed a “golden era” of Sino-British relations when Chinese President Xi Jinping paid his first state visit to the UK in 2015.

But ties were strained in 2016 when British Prime Minister Theresa May ordered a review of a $22-billion deal to build a Chinese-backed nuclear power point in England.

She subsequently approved the project, but not before Chinese state media accused the country of suffering from “China-phobia”.

Britain seeks closer ties to China’s Belt and Road project

December 15, 2017


© POOL/AFP | Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond delivers a speech during the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on May 14, 2017

BEIJING (AFP) – Britain seeks “closer collaboration” with China on its Belt and Road infrastructure project, finance minister Philip Hammond said Friday in Beijing on a trip expected to secure more than £1 billion ($1.34 billion) in deals.China is one of Britain’s largest trading partners, and the relationship has grown in importance as the UK looks forward to its economic future once it leaves the European Union in 2019.

China’s Belt and Road infrastructure project seeks to revive ancient trade routes through a massive rail and maritime network via $1 trillion in investments across Asia and Europe.

“I was privileged earlier this year to represent the UK at the first Belt and Road Forum and one of the things we will discuss tonight and tomorrow is the opportunity for closer collaboration in delivering the ambitions of the Belt and Road Initiative,” Hammond said as he met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

Li said that the Chinese people were following developments in the UK and the EU “very closely”.

“We believe that no matter how the situation in the UK and Europe may evolve, China will continue to hope that there will be steady and sound growth of China-UK ties and relations between China and Europe,” Li said.

Hammond’s trip seeks to “establish the next steps for a deeper trade and investment relationship as the UK builds an economy fit for the future”, according to a statement from the British treasury.

China and UK proclaimed a “golden era” of Sino-British relations when Chinese President Xi Jinping paid his first state visit to the UK in 2015, during which he enjoyed a glittering banquet at Buckingham Palace hosted by the Queen.

But ties were strained in 2016 when Prime Minister Theresa May, shortly after taking office following the EU referendum, ordered a review of a $22-billion deal to build a Chinese-backed nuclear power point in England.

She subsequently approved the project to build Hinkley Point, Britain’s first nuclear plant in a generation, but not before Chinese state media accused the country of suffering from “China-phobia”.

Donald Trump’s U.S. Tax Cuts Bring Threats of Trade War From Europe

December 12, 2017

PANICKING European finance ministers have threatened a trade war with the US over Donald Trump’s planned tax cuts.

Europe finance ministers have warned Mr TrumpGETTY

Europe finance ministers have warned Mr Trump

Ministers from Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Chancellor Philip Hammond have signed a scathing letter to US counterpart Steven Mnuchin, warning they could retaliate with their own legislation.They claim Mr Trump’s plans for deep US business tax cuts, currently working their way through Congress, could end up “seriously hampering genuine trade and investment flows between our countries”.

And they say the US could flout World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules by treating domestic operations differently to those from abroad.

Europe is concerned the President is using the policy to push an “America first” agenda, risking a huge row with the world’s biggest economy.The letter stated US action to protect its tax base risked impacting “genuine business activities”.

And the ministers warned: “While the establishment of a modern, competitive and robust tax system is one of the essential pillars of a state’s sovereignty, it is important the US government’s rights over domestic tax policy be exercised in a way that adheres with international obligations to which it has signed up.”

Donald Trump is working on huge tax reformsGETTY

Donald Trump is working on huge tax reforms

Among the measures highlighted in the letter is a planned 20 per cent “excise tax” on purchases by US companies from foreign subsidiaries which would not apply to similar domestic transactions.The letter stated: “Given this measure would impact on genuine commercial arrangements, and would do so only where payments are being made for foreign goods and services, it could discriminate in a manner that would be at odds with international rules embodied in the WTO.

“Bearing in mind that almost half of transatlantic trade is intra-company trade, this risks seriously hampering genuine trade and investment flows between our two economies, which remain a central artery of the world economy.”

German finance minister Peter Altmaier told the Financial Times: “The US is our ally and it has the right to shape its tax system as it sees fit.“But it must be in compliance with the international rules that are in effect.”

A US Treasury spokesman told the paper: “We appreciate the views of the finance ministers.

“We are closely working with Congress as they finalise the legislation.”

German finance minister Peter AltmaierGETTY

German finance minister Peter Altmaier

Mr Trump wants a single tax bill on his desk soon so he can sign it into law before the end of the year, in what would be his first major legislative achievement since taking office.The White House said he would deliver a speech tomorrow “to the American people on how tax reform will lead to a brighter future for them and their families”.

Mr Trump has made huge promises about the plan, which he sees as a landmark in his presidency.

On Sunday, he tweeted: “Getting closer and closer on the Tax Cut Bill. Shaping up even better than projected.

“House and Senate working very hard and smart. End result will be not only important, but SPECIAL!”

UK won’t pay Brexit bill if no trade deal agreed: Davis

December 10, 2017


© AFP | Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator David Davis (left) and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier

LONDON (AFP) – Brexit Secretary David Davis said Sunday Britain will not honour financial commitments agreed this week with the European Union if they fail to secure a future trade deal, contradicting finance minister Philip Hammond.”No deal means that we won’t be paying the money,” he told the BBC.

“It is conditional on an outcome. It is conditional on getting an implementation period, it is conditional on a trade outcome,” he said.

“It has been made clear by number 10 already. So that’s not actually new,” Davis added, referring to the Downing Street office and residence of British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Under an initial agreement reached with the EU on Friday, Britain will pay a financial settlement of between £35 billion-£39 billion (40-45 billion euros, $47-52 billion) for leaving the bloc in March 2019.

The 15-page document, detailing post-Brexit arrangements for citizens’ rights and the Irish border, was hammered out after nearly six months of negotiations and now allows the talks to move on to a future trade deal.

Davis’ stance contradicts comments from Hammond on Wednesday, who said London would pay the bill regardless of their outcome.

“Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed in this negotiation,” he told a parliamentary committee.

“But I find it inconceivable that we as a nation would be walking away from an obligation that we recognised as an obligation,” he said.

“That is not a credible scenario. That is not the kind of country we are. Frankly, it would not make us a credible partner for future international agreements.”

A spokeswoman for the Treasury reached Sunday declined to comment on Davis’ remarks.