The NAO is investigating £39bn Brexit divorce bill

 
Catherine Neilan
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The NAO will publish its report into the so-called divorce bill in late March (Source: Getty)

The National Audit Office has said it is investigating the £39bn cost of the so-called divorce bill, agreed by Theresa May in order to push ahead in Brexit negotiations.

Earlier in the day, Treasury select committee chair Nicky Morgan had revealed she had written to Amyas Morse, the head of the NAO, asking him to "examine the reasonableness" of the settlement.

“Parliament must be able to scrutinise the reasonableness of this bill. Accordingly, I have written to Sir Amyas to request that the NAO examines the withdrawal payment, including the assumptions and methodologies used," the Remain-supporting Conservative MP said.

This afternoon Morse said the team was already on the case.

He said: "I can confirm that we intend to report on the main elements of the financial settlement with the EU. We are already in discussions with HM Treasury aimed at planning our work. I expect our report to be published in late March."

Labour MP Chris Leslie, who supports Open Britain, said: “Nobody mentioned during the referendum that we’d have to pay billions of pounds in a Brexit divorce bill in return for a much worse relationship with our largest trade partner. It is a far cry from the £350m a week bonanza promised by ministers.

“With our NHS in crisis and public services struggling, the Government must be transparent about how all taxpayers’ money in spent, so it is right for the National Audit Office to investigate the Brexit divorce bill.

“The economic cost of Brexit will be huge – this is just the tip of the iceberg. If the British people decide these costs aren’t worth it, they have every right to keep an open mind about whether it’s really the right path for the country.”

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