Senior figures in three separate Whitehall departments fear that EU demands for a £50bn divorce settlement are part of an attempt to wreck Brexit negotiations before they even get started. One senior UK official said if the European Commission persists with its position on EU budgets payments “there is a real risk that our side just says ‘forget it, we’ll see you in court’ and the entire process blows up at the outset.” The FT cites officials who believe the tactic is designed to delay a transition deal prompting companies to move some of their business to the EU. Meanwhile, former chancellor George Osborne told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show yesterday that close relations with France and Germany should not be sacrificed in pursuit of new trade deals with other nations including China. Speaking on the same programme, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said staying a member of the customs union would, however, mean “limitations” on the UK’s ability to set its own trade tariffs, which would in turn limit the kind of deals it could do with the rest of the world. Writing in the Independent, Gavin Barrett, professor of law at University College Dublin, considers the legal complexities surrounding membership of the single market.
The Daily Telegraph, Page: 4 Financial Times, Page: 1 BBC News The Times, Page: 2 The Independent The Daily Telegraph, Page: 1, 4 The Independent Daily Mail, Page: 8 Independent i, Page: 5