Theresa May expected to offer €20bn divorce bill in Friday's Brexit speech

Catherine Neilan
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It is widely hoped she will break the impasse so negotiators can get down to business (Source: Getty)

Theresa May is to offer the leaders of the EU27 countries at least €20bn as part of the UK's divorce bill during her major speech on Friday.

Oliver Robbins, the senior civil servant in charge of Brexit talks who moved from DexEU to Downing Street on Monday amid rumours of clashing with David Davis, has contacted his counterparts on the continent to reassure them May's speech will include a financial commitment.

The settlement will ensure that no member state will have to pay more into or receive less from the EU's budget until 2020, the FT claims.

Read more: Pressure piles on PM to make "deal friendly" Brexit speech to EU27

If this is the case, her speech will bring much relief to the business community, which is desperately hoping for a break to the impasse in negotiations.

The EU is refusing to allow talks to progress to trade and transition all the while the divorce bill remains unsettled. Brexit secretary Davis has said this could be the sticking point for the "duration" of talks until March 2019.

Read more: What will Theresa May offer in her big Florence speech?

However, whether such a relatively small sum will grease the wheels is yet to be seen. Jean-Claude Juncker has previously said the trading bloc would accept no less than €60bn.

The Prime Minister's own backbenchers have told City A.M. they could stomach a higher sum, with €40bn being seen as a "sensible" figure.

But she also has to contend with a possible rebellion from foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who has reportedly said he will resign if she offers to part with cash to enable a softer Brexit, although he has denied this.

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