Brexit bill WILL be linked to trade deal: Victory for May as EU blinks over divorce payout
Top Brussels figures, such as chief negotiator Michel Barnier, have previously insisted that the final “global amount” must then be coughed up by Britain in full in one cash payment.
However, EU officials now concede that negotiations on how the British will pay that sum in practical terms can be deferred until the second phase, meaning they will get caught up in talks about a future trade deal.
Crucially, that could mean British negotiators will be able to play hardball with Brussels over when and how they will hand over the cash in return for a more favourable Brexit agreement.
Equally, though, it may allow the EU’s vast team of officials to use the trade talks to pressure the UK into paying up quickly and without making a fuss.
The announcement will provide some small relief for Mrs May, who is attempting to realign her flagging election campaign around Brexit after a series of disastrous domestic policy announcements.