The UK does not intend to pay £39 billion for a divorce settlement with the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the press on 26 August.
“I think what the entire European Union understands is that if we come out without a deal then…the £39 billion is no longer legally pledged,” said Johnson.
Johnson’s new government appears willing to recognise a debt of approximately £7-£9 billion. European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva responded by saying that “honouring commitments made during its EU membership” would be essential for building a new relationship, which would be “especially true in a no-deal scenario.”
The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, was more explicit, making it clear that there would be no negotiation on a trade deal unless the UK agreed to pay the entire sum.
Talks between UK MPs on how to avoid no-deal have continued despite the push to take the UK out of the EU without a deal by 31 October. The leader of the opposition Labour party, firebrand leftist Jeremy Corbyn, is to meet the leadership of the Scottish Nationalist Party, the Liberal Democrats, Wales’ Plaid Cymru, and the Green Party.
Corbyn wants to table a no-confidence vote and, should the government fall, and form an alternative unity government that would ask the EU for another Brexit delay, call for national elections, and organise a second referendum on EU membership.
The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, has made clear that her party would not get behind a Corbyn government, even if temporary.