European Union negotiator: I didn't say United Kingdom needs educating on Brexit

As the Commons returns from summer recess MPs will also hear about plans for science and innovation in the UK post Brexit and debate the EU withdrawal bill

The BBC reported Michel Barnier saying at a conference in Italy on Saturday that the consequences of leaving the European Union had not been explained to the British people and Brexit would be an "educational process" for them. "We do not want to "educate" or "teach lessons", Barnier tweeted.

'They have set this up to try to create pressure on us on money, that's what it's about, they are trying to play time against money, ' said the Brexit Secretary.

But a source close to the prime minister told the Sunday Times: 'We were looking at a final bill of £20bn to £30bn, now it will be nearer £50bn'.

"Bluntly, I think it looked a bit silly, because plainly there were things that we've achieved", he said.

But Conservative& backbencher, and leading soft-Brexit campaigner Anna Soubry, today warned the PM to put an end to the "silly" threats, which she said were part of an approach to politics which had cost the party its majority at the last general election.

On Sunday, Brexit Secretary David Davis dismissed reports that the United Kingdom had secretly agreed to pay an "exit" figure of up to £50 billion. "The British people won't be blackmailed and we won't be coughing up billions to pay for a trade deal with a few countries whose influence is declining when there is a whole world to trade with".

The EU is only prepared to begin trade talks once it has assessed that "sufficient progress" has been made on issues including the financial settlement.

Davis said the story was "nonsense ... completely wrong" and that the United Kingdom position was not yet settled. The British team believes the European Union is trying to grab more money than it is legally entitled to.




The BBC had quoted Barnier as saying on Saturday: "There are extremely serious consequences of leaving the single market and it hasn't been explained to the British people".

The EU negotiators are clearly determined to put the United Kingdom government under pressure - it's a pretty standard negotiating tactic.

Brexit negotiations got nastier last week.

The European parliament's Brexit coordinator has predicted that Theresa May will make an "important intervention" later this month and that the next round of divorce negotiations could be delayed as a result.

"There is now more and more recognition of the need of such a transition period", the legislature's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt said.

Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, has repeatedly said Labour will not support the bill without significant changes to its content, because of concerns that it would allow ministers to make sweeping changes to legislation without parliamentary scrutiny.

Labour's announcement that it wants to "maintain the same basic terms that we now enjoy with the EU" for an unspecified "transitional" period, and that it is open to staying in both the customs union and Europe's single market in the long term, should be welcomed for three major reasons.

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