Philip Hammond has suggested the United Kingdom could continue to pay into the European Union’s budget after Brexit.
Last week, Brexit secretary David Davis confirmed the government was open to paying in order to secure the “best possible access” to the single market for British business.
Asked in Brussels today about Davis’ comments, the chancellor said: “We want to keep all options open. That is something we would have to look at, looking at the costs and the benefits based on what is in the best interests of the British taxpayer.”
On Sunday however, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appeared to downplay the possibility and said the suggestion was “pure speculation”.
Theresa May is facing a rebellion this week from Tory MPs over her refusal to provide more detail about her Brexit strategy.
On Wednesday, Labour force a Commons vote on a motion demanding May set out her plan for leaving the European Union before triggering Article 50.
Tory MP Anna Soubry, who campaigned strongly for ‘Remain’, suggested as many as 40 Tory MPs could back the motion.
“The Labour motion on Wednesday calling for parliamentary scrutiny of the Government’s Brexit plan is eminently sensible and supportable,” she said.
“The best solution would be for the Government to unite all sides of the House by now agreeing to put before Parliament their plan for the upcoming negotiations. It would be a vital and welcome step in healing the Brexit divisions that exist, not just in politics, but across the country.”
However government sources have claimed the rebellion will be kept to around 12 once it publishes an amendment to Labour’s motion.
Labour’s Brexit motion reads:
That this House recognises that leaving the EU is the defining issue facing the UK; notes the resolution on parliamentary scrutiny of the UK leaving the EU agreed by the House on 12 October 2016; recognises that it is Parliament’s responsibility to properly scrutinise the Government while respecting the decision of the British people to leave the European Union; confirms that there should be no disclosure of material that could be reasonably judged to damage the UK in any negotiations to depart from the European Union after Article 50 has been triggered; and calls on the Prime Minister to commit to publishing the Government’s plan for leaving the EU before Article 50 is invoked.
The vote will not be binding on the government - however a defeat add to the pressure on May - who is currently abroad - to reveal more details about what leaving the EU will look like.
Keir Starmer, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, said the debate and vote on Wednesday was “a real opportunity to finally get clarity on the Government’s plan for Brexit”.
“Labour accept and respect the referendum and we will not frustrate the process of leaving the EU. But Parliament and the public need to know the basic terms the Government is seeking to achieve from Brexit. This issue is too important to be left mired in uncertainty any longer.
“That is why Labour have called this debate on Wednesday. Our motion is simple but would deliver real accountability and grip in the Brexit process. I hope MPs on all sides of the House will join Labour in supporting it.”
This week the government is engaged in a Supreme Court appeal against a High Court ruling that it must ask MPs to approve the process of triggering Article 50 and leaving the EU.