Mon, Oct 23, 2017 - Page 5 News List

UK cannot give divorce figure until deal

Reuters, LONDON

Britain can only come up with a figure for a financial settlement with the EU when a Brexit deal has been agreed, British Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox said yesterday, warning leaders not to believe London is bluffing over a no deal.

Fox, speaking on ITV’s Peston on Sunday program, said Britain would offer the other 27 EU members “further assurance” on its divorce before the next summit in December to push talks forward to a discussion of a future trading relationship.

“I don’t know what that number is, but it’s very clear that we could only have that final number as part of a final agreement, we would want to know what the end state is,” Fox said. “Away from the hyperbole around the divorce bill there is actually a great deal of cooperation going on between us.”

After British Prime Minister Theresa May won a reprieve in the talks after a summit last week, the government will show the EU that “we are moving in the right direction” on the first phase of talks, which include the so-called divorce bill, Fox said.

However, he also said the EU should not believe that Britain was bluffing by saying it was preparing for a no deal, describing trading according to WTO rules as “not exactly a nightmare scenario.”

“But I would prefer to have a deal,” he added.

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