Government admits it will “consider” STILL paying into EU budget after Brexit

0
6

The Cabinet minister suggested the UK could continue part of its EU budget contributions in return for preferable access to the bloc’s Single Market.

Answering questions in the House of Commons, Mr Davis was asked by Labour MP Wayne David whether the Government would offer up UK taxpayers’ cash during the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

He said: “Will the Government consider making any contribution in any shape or form for access to the Single Market?”

Mr Davis told the Caerphilly MP the “major criterion” for the Government is to “get the best possible access for goods and services to the European market”.

He added: “If that is included in what he”s talking about then of course we would consider it.”

Although not an EU member, Norway currently pays millions of euros each year for access to the bloc’s internal market through its membership of the European Economic Area (EEA).

Britain’s contribution to the EU budget was recently estimated at £12.9billion in 2015.

During the EU referendum campaign, Brexit supporters argued the cash could be better spent on UK public services such as the NHS.

Mr Davis also used his appearance in the House of Commons to defend Boris Johnson following reports the Foreign Secretary told European ambassadors he was “personally in favour” of EU freedom of movement rules.

The Brexit Secretary claimed the reports were “completely at odds” with his own knowledge of Mr Johnson”s view on EU immigration.

Mr Davis told MPs: “He believes that some immigration is useful, we all agree that, that is not the same as thinking that free movement of people as it now stands is a good idea.

“It”s a problem.”

Asked about Mr Davis”s suggestion Britain could continue paying money to Brussels post-Brexit, the Prime Minister”s official spokeswoman insisted the remarks were “consistent with what we have said to date”.

She said: “It will be for the UK Government to make decisions on how taxpayers” money will be spent.

“We”ve said, as we approach these negotiations, we want to get the best possible access for British businesses to trade with and operate within the Single Market, while also taking back control on immigration.”

The spokeswoman added: “All these issues will be a matter for the negotiation.”

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron claimed Mr Davis”s comments showed the Government is in “an absolute mess” over Britain”s departure from the EU.

He said: “We are seeing chaos over their Brexit plans as they keep sending mixed signals on where they stand on basic, fundamental questions like access to the Single Market, payments to the EU budget and freedom of movement.

 “How can the Government claim they have a mandate for their Brexit deal when they don’t even know what it is themselves?

 “The people must be given a vote on the deal they do when it finally emerges, and the Government must start setting out clearly what they are trying to achieve.”