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Friday, December 16, 2016

Brexit lies come home to roost

If anybody was still harbouring hopes that the promised £350 million a week for the health service as a result of us leaving the EU was going to materialise then they would surely have had their illusions shattered by today's Telegraph.

The paper says that Brussels' chief negotiator has warned Britain will be presented with a £50 billion “exit bill” by the European Union as soon as Theresa May triggers Article 50:

Michel Barnier has told colleagues that the UK must keep paying “tens of billions” annually into the EU budget until 2020.

The bill would include the UK’s share of outstanding pensions liabilities, loan guarantees and spending on UK-based projects.

The Brexiteers are already rubbishing the suggestion but as Tomas Prouza, the Czech Republic’s Europe minister, says, these are bills that the UK has already agreed to pay:

“We’re talking about payments to the existing budget that the UK already voted for, pensions of British citizens working at the EU. This is only things the UK has already committed itself to paying”.

Those who campaigned for us to leave the EU, including several Tory cabinet ministers, were keen to put across the simplistic notion that if we were to exit the arrangements we currently have, then money which currently goes to Brussels could be repatriated for vital public services.

That was questioned at the time, with many people suggesting that it would not happen. Now it seems that not only will we not get that boost for the health service but we are going to have to pay a substantial exit fee to meet existing treaty obligations.

Further news that it could take ten years to negotiate a satisfactory exit and forge a new trade deal rather than the two years we have after article 50 is invoked, underlines the mess that Brexiteers like Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis have led us into.

There needs to be much more clarity on all these issues before a formal notice is issued to the EU and a further vote by UK electors on the final deal in the light of the information that is now coming to light and was kept from them back in June.
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