Its final! EU hits back at No10 over absurd £40.8bn Brexit bill – Legal obligations

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The European Commission said its accounts for the settlement are “final” and will not be up for negotiation. The accounts published in Brussels put the new bill at £2billion more than the maximum £39billion expected. A Commission spokesman said: “The report is final and the calculations were made in line with the Withdrawal Agreement.”

Britain faces a demand for more than £5.8billion by the end of the year. 

Brussels said some of the cash had already been handed over.

Eurocrats refused to rule out legal action if there is a dispute over the figure in the future. 

“These are legal obligations just like any other part of the Withdrawal Agreement,” a second EU official said. 

The Commission will send twice-yearly demands for cash each year until the Brexit bill is settled. 

Britain is expected to still be paying for its past commitments to the Brussels budget until the 2060s. 

UK and EU officials will continue to meet as part of the divorce deal’s Joint Committee to overcome any future disputes.

Downing Street rejected the figure and said it will publish its own total soon.

A No 10 spokesman said: “We don’t recognise that figure, it’s an estimate produced by the EU for its own internal accounting purposes. For example it doesn’t reflect all the money owed back to the UK, which reduces the amount we pay.

“Our estimate remains in the central range of between £35-39 billion and we will publish full details in Parliament shortly.”

Brexiteer Peter Bone said it was “completely absurd” that after paying in more than the country took out for its entire membership of the bloc that Brussels claims the final bill is even higher than expected.

He said: “The EU should be paying us money. We were a net contributor throughout our period within the EU.

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“The idea that when we have left the club we need to pay them even more money is completely ridiculous.

“The EU is just being its normal unreasonable self.”

Former Brexit minister David Jones said Brussels must justify the new bill.

He said: “One thing is certain, we shouldn’t be paying them a cent more than they are entitled to.

“We always knew there would be a financial reckoning and we have always understood that we might have to pay them some money.

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“The House of Lords Europe finance sub-committee looked at it a few years ago and worked out we didn’t owe them anything at all.

“There’s bound to be an argument about this.

“I think most fair people would think that if there is money owed by the country to anybody else properly then it should be paid but that doesn’t mean there is a blank cheque.

“If they are expecting us to pay that sort of money they are going to have to justify it.”

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