May: UK scrutinising Brexit bill ‘line by line’

20 Oct 17

The UK is going “line by line” through the multi-billion euro bill it has been asked to pay to leave the EU, prime minister Theresa May said today.

Speaking in Brussels today as she met with EU leaders, May told reporters that the UK would honour its commitments and strike a deal for the benefit of both parties.

Asked if she was willing to pay “many more billions” than previously indicated. May referred to her Florence speech last month in which she said she made “firm commitments” on the financial settlement.

She added: “I have said nobody need be concerned for the current budget plan that they would have to pay in more or receive less as a result of the UK leaving and that we will honour the commitments that we have made during our membership.”

May said there still needed to be “detailed work” on those commitments.

“As [Brexit secretary] David Davis has said, we are going through them, line by line and will continue to go through them line by line and the British taxpayers would not expect its government to do anything else.”

Some reports have suggested the divorce bill could be as high as €60bn (£53bn) but May refused to confirm this.

She said the UK would be willing to pay “relevant” costs to continue to be part of projects such as those in science, research and criminal justice.

May said the position of the UK was that the final figure would only be agreed once the final exit agreement is settled.

The prime minister also repeated her message to EU citizens living in the UK that the country “valued their contributions and wanted them to stay”. 

She released an open letter as she travelled to Brussels saying: “I couldn’t be clearer: EU citizens living lawfully in the UK today will be able to stay.”

May said the government and the 27 member states of the EU were in “touching distance” of an agreement on citizens’ rights.

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