British Brexit secretary David Davies says agreement has been reached with the EU over pensions for expats – but that the EU needs to show more flexibility in talks.
Table of contents
Without revealing details, he briefed MPs in Westminster on the progress of Brexit talks.
He confirmed pension rights for British expats as well as the rights of EU nationals living in the UK.
But he said Britain and the EU still had differences over family rights and voting rights for British expats.
Davies explained that he considered the UK’s negotiating stance was “substantially more flexible and pragmatic” than that of the EU.
However, he believed ‘concrete progress’ had been made.
Divorce bill disagreement
The major stumbling block appears to be the Brexit divorce bill – the money the EU wants the UK to pay to fund ongoing commitments.
Britain feels the EU is inflating the bill to cover a budget blackhole that remaining members will have to plug.
“The UK has a duty to our tax payers to interrogate that EU position line by line,” said Davies.
Estimates put Britain’s payment to leave the EU at around £50 billion, but the EU is demanding up to double that amount.
Labour’s Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer cautioned that “this slow progress is a real concern” and claims negotiators are “further apart not closer together” than they were at the start of talks.
“This could have serious consequences,” he said. “The prospect of no deal could rise from the ashes.”
The briefing came on the eve of the government presenting the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 for a vote before the draft law can progress through Parliament.
Bid to oust PM
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has demanded his MPs vote against the bill in a bid to weaken Theresa May’s position as Prime Minister.
Regional politicians in Wales and Scotland have also railed against the bill, claiming the new law was a power grab by Westminster that is against their interests.
May has a slender majority with the support of Ulster Democratic Unionists, providing her EU remain rebels vote with her.
The bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation to go through Parliament.
On Brexit in March 2019, the bill repeals all EU laws and converts them to British legislation.
Losing the vote could see May resign as Prime Minister as she would hold an untenable position in Westminster. This will probably rally her rebel MPs to support her as they would prefer a slender house majority rather than going to the country again for a general election.
Related Articles, Guides and Insights
Below is a list of some related articles, guides and insights that you may find of interest.
Questions or Comments?
We love to get feedback from our readers. So, after reading this article, if you have any questions or want to make comments, send us a message on this site or our social media?
Don’t forget that you can also request the guides sent directly to your email inbox.