London, United Kingdom. Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn were grilled on live TV over an array of issues, including Brexit, with the PM making clear she would rather opt for a divorce without a deal, than pay a hefty bill.
PM Theresa May said she would strive for “a fair settlement” and “the right deal… which will stop us paying huge sums every single year, no deal is better than a bad deal,” responding to a question about if she would entertain an option of paying £100 billion to secure a Brexit deal.
The PM has recently taken on a harsher stance towards the EU, accusing European politicians and officials in Brussels of unwillingness to seek common ground and even attempting to meddle into UK domestic politics.
When questioned further by reporters if that means she would be ready to cut short the lingering talks and part with the EU without any agreement, the prime minister reiterated that the UK “will be there to negotiate the right deal but… We have to be prepared to walk out. I think you have to. In negotiations, you have to recognize that you’re not in there to get a deal at any price,” May said.
European Union German and French experts have previously estimated that a divorce from the EU could cost Britain some $112 billion dollars. Commenting on the figure, UK Brexit Secretary David Davis voiced the same sentiment as May, saying: “We don’t need to just look like we can walk away, we need to be able to walk away.”
“The European commission’s negotiating stance has hardened. Threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials. All of these acts have been deliberately timed to affect the result of the general election which will take place on 8th June,” May added.
Opponent Corbyn indicated that he did not see any alternative to a deal being struck with the EU. “We will get a deal,” the Labour leader said, when asked if he was considering walking out of the EU without reaching one. However, he fell short of providing any clues how much he was prepared to pay up under such an agreement.
This week, the EU commission published two draft negotiation papers, detailing the commitments the UK will have to stick even upon leaving the UK by their demands. Among the obligations, the EU negotiators expect Britain to undertake is respecting all its financial commitments under the EU budget up to 2020, even if the UK is no longer in the EU by 2020.