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Britain could end up paying EU £100bn, warns ex-minister

Britain could end up paying the EU £100billion after the PM’s divorce deal, a former Brexit minister warned today.

David Jones said settlement dramatically agreed by Theresa May last week could mean handing over ‘monstrous’ sums.

He said the final figure could be more than double the £39billion that has been estimated by Government.

The warning came amid signs Brexiteers such as Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson are seeking major concessions from Mrs May in return for supporting her deal.

The PM and Jean-Claude Juncker were smiling as they shook hands for the cameras 

Boris Johnson

Michael Gove

The provision was supposedly explained to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (left) and Environment Secretary Michael Gove (right) as ‘not binding’

They are pushing for a sharper break from Brussels in the longer term after a transition period – a stance that has been tagged ‘soft Brexit, hard exit’.

Mr Gove wants to ensure the UK quits the common fisheries policy, despite the PM agreeing that the UK could retain ‘alignment’ with the EU in areas that impact on Northern Ireland, according to the Sunday Times.

Cabinet tensions are set to come to a head at a meeting during the week before Christmas when ministers will finally discuss what the ‘end state’ of the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU should be. 

Aides to the PM apparently won over Eurosceptic Tories to the divorce agreement by assuring them that promises of ‘full alignment’ between the UK and EU were ‘meaningless’.

Senior UK negotiators reportedly claimed the provision – which allegedly became part of the deal solely to calm Ireland’s fears of a hard border with the UK – ‘doesn’t mean anything in EU law’.

In a fresh complication for the PM, the EU is warning that it cannot give a Britain a ‘lopsided’ deal that is so generous it would upset third parties.

Mr Jones is one of the few Tory Brexiteers to publicly criticise the deal Mrs May reached with the European Commission in order to trigger trade talks. 

Former Brexit minister David Jones criticised Mrs May's commitments on the divorce bill and aligning the UK with key EU rules in order to guarantee a soft Irish border

Former Brexit minister David Jones criticised Mrs May’s commitments on the divorce bill and aligning the UK with key EU rules in order to guarantee a soft Irish border

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, the ex-minister said: ”Government sources’ were quoted saying the price tag was likely to be £39 billion – down from an earlier-reported £50 billion. However, the deal document contains no such precise figure, reduced or otherwise.

‘What it does contain is a set of highly technical mechanisms we would have to follow to work out the eventual Brexit cost to the UK.

‘And those mechanisms could land us with a bill, on some estimates, of as much as £100 billion – a figure EU sources were touting earlier this year.’

Mrs May’s commitment last week to align with key EU rules in order to guarantee a soft Irish border was also heavily criticised by Mr Jones.