Prime Minister Boris Johnson has claimed that a Brexit extension would cost the UK an additional £1billion a month, when in fact an extension of a few months would cost no more than leaving with a deal in October 2019. This is according to the UK’s independent fact checking charity FullFact.org.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Boris Johnson said, “I think that it would be a mistake to keep the UK bound beyond the time that the people want to come out…at a cost of £1billion a month.”
Even if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union on 31 October with a deal there will be a transition period until the end of December 2020. In that time the UK will continue to pay into the EU budget.
Boris Johnson announced new plans for a Brexit negotiation. He did not spell out his intention to renegotiate the financial settlement as part of the deal, known commonly as the divorce bill. The only way Boris Johnson's claim is correct, is if the United Kingdom is planning on leaving the EU without a deal and is refusing to pay the ‘divorce bill’.
The UK is set to leave the EU on October the 31st, with or without a deal. However, the House of Commons has voted to prevent a no deal Brexit, forcing the prime minister to seek an extension. The government has said it will not disobey the law but that seeking an extension is not an option. On Friday, in Scottish court documents, the government acknolwedged for the first time that if no divorce deal has been reached by Oct. 19, the Prime Minister will send a letter to the European Union asking for a Brexit delay.
The European Union has made it perfectly clear that any negotiation on a future trade deal will be dependent on the divorce bill being paid. Many Brexiteers are unhappy with the settlement agreed which stands at just under £40billion.
The original divorce bill stood at £39 billion but it now stands at £33billion. This is because the UK has remained in the European Union for longer than expected. So while our membership fee has continued our final settlement has decreased. It is the same money, simply being allocated differently.
(Written by Brendan Chilton, edited by Michael O'Sullivan)