British Brexit secretary David Davis has revealed that the UK may consider paying the EU to secure access to the single market following a divorce from the bloc.
He told MPs that if the UK could be guaranteed the best access for goods and services to the EU, then Britain should consider paying. However, he immediately came under fire from fellow Tories, with Brexit-supporter Peter Bone saying there would be outrage if the UK continued to pay the EU even after leaving.
Mr Davis was facing questions in the Commons, including a query from Labour MP Wayne David, who asked if the government would think about making a contribution to retain single market access.
He replied: “The major criterion here is that we get the best possible access for goods and services to the European market – and if that is included in what you are talking about, then of course we will consider it.”
Following his comments, Sterling immediately jumped in strength, rising by one per cent to $1.26 against the dollar. Since the vote to leave Europe, the pound has been struggling.
Mr David secured the backing of Chancellor Philip Hammond who said that there was no point in going into negotiations expecting everything to go your way without conceding anything at all. The Chancellor, who recently announced an Autumn statement which released the public purse strings a little, said that Mr Davis was correct to consider contributing to “some form of mechanism”.
However, the former Tory cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith, who campaigned heavily to leave Europe, said that Mr Davis’ comments should not be taken too seriously as he was simply not ruling anything out before going into negotiate Britain’s position in Europe.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he thought the suggestion was not particularly well thought out.