The UK finance minister has has signalled that Britain will make an improved offer to the European Union on the Brexit divorce bill, before an EU summit next month and is expected to negotiate hard.
“We will make our proposals to the European Union in time for the Council,” Philip Hammond said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.
Senior ministers are set to meet on Monday to decide a response to the EU’s December deadline to resolve the critical row over money, or future trade talks will be shelved.
The EU told Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday that more progress was needed on the bill if trade talks were to go ahead in January.
Mrs May has already offered to pay €20bn to trigger trade talks.
But there is speculation she may up her offer by putting another €20bn on the table.
Mr Hammond defended the Prime minister:
“It’s not about demands, it’s about what is properly due from the UK to the European Union under international law, in accordance with European treaties and we’ve always been clear that it wont be easy to work out that number but whatever is due, we will pay – we are a nation that honours our debts and of course we will negotiate hard where there is any question, any doubt about whether an item is payable or not but those debts that are clear, of course we will pay.”
Theresa May is not expected to reveal whether she will do this until the December summit.
Mr Hammond was speaking before he sets out Britain’s budget plan next week, where he will have to convince voters that the government is tackling Britain’s domestic problems at the same time as negotiating its exit from the EU.