Top Tories split over whether May should increase 'Brexit bill' offer – Politics live

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including MPs debating and voting on the first day of the EU withdrawal bill’s committee stage

Another former Conservative leader, Iain Duncan Smith, has just been on Sky News saying that William Hague is wrong. Asked about Hague’s argument in his Telegraph column about the need for the government to increase its Brexit bill offer (see 11.21am), and ignoring the fact that as a former foreign secretary Hague is not completely clueless about international negotiations, Duncan Smith said:

I couldn’t disagree with William Hague more on this one, I’m afraid. I don’t know if he’s every really been in a serious negotiation … Let me just say why that’s not feasible.

I think it would be right for the government not at this point to make any further offer to them. We simply say, as was agreed at the outset, we will get as far as we can on money, and on the other issues, but none of them can be sorted and settled until we decide what we are doing about trade …

We’ve said we’ll to stand by our budgetary commitments, but we are not prepared to spell that out in any great detail until you start talking about trade. And I wouldn’t move on the money at all, because the reality is if Europe wants to get money, they have to get a trade arrangement. Otherwise, if we were to leave without a trade arrangement, they wouldn’t get a penny. That’s the important feature. It is give on both sides. And so far they have not moved …. In negotiations you stay put sometimes and wait for the other side to move.

In his Daily Telegraph column (paywall) William Hague, the Conservative former party leader and former foreign secretary, says Theresa May should increase her financial offer to the EU. May has already said that the UK will carry on paying into the EU budget until the current budget period runs out, at a cost of roughly €20bn. But she has not made any specific commitment to pay the UK’s share of other, long-term EU budget spending commitments (the “reste a liquider, or RAL, in the jargon), which would be worth the same again, or even more.

Hague does not give a figure for how much the UK should pay in his column. But he says now is the time for May to say the UK will pay a share of the RAL. He says:

If Theresa May and David Davis declare at some point before the next European summit on December 14 that we will indeed pay some share of these liabilities, there is no point people responding with outrage and denouncing them for giving in to Brussels. Anyone who thinks there has ever been a chance of a free trade deal with the EU without doing this has been kidding themselves.

Of course, any such payment should be dependent on a final deal being signed, sealed and ratified – without that the UK should not pay a single penny. That way, the UK retains some leverage right to the end. And agreeing to pay a share need not mean being committed now to a specific amount. A “share” could be calculated as the British population in the EU (12.5 per cent) or the proportion of the budget we pay in any one year (about 8 per cent after deducting our receipts) and since the RAL varies unpredictably, the choice of the year on which to base this calculation will be important. British taxpayers will also expect to get back their share of the capital invested in the European Investment Bank – if we’re paying debts we have to receive our slice of the assets ….

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