Boris Johnson softens stance on the Brexit bill

 
Helen Cahill
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British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson Visits Australia
The UK must reach a financial settlement with the EU before trade talks can start (Source: Getty)

Boris Johnson has conceded the UK must pay a bill to the EU as it exits the bloc, but said that some of the estimates for the financial settlement are "very high".

The foreign secretary previously said the EU could "go whistle" over a possible Brexit bill of between €60bn and €100bn. However, this morning, he clarified that the UK will meet its financial obligations.

The bill will consist of spending commitments the UK has made to its European partners, as well as the share of the EU's pension liabilities, among other items. UK negotiators will also be wanting to make sure they come home with Britain's portion of EU assets.

In a bid to make sure the EU gets its payout, the Commission's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has said talks on a future partnership with the UK will not start until the issue of the bill is settled.

Speaking on the BBC Today Programme, Johnson said:

Some of the sums that I've seen seemed to be very high, and, of course, we will meet our obligations. We are law-abiding, bill-paying people.

I'm not saying that I accept Barnier's interpretation of what our obligations are. But I'm certainly saying that we have to meet our legal obligations as we understand them and that's what you'd expect the British government to do.

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