The so-called Brexit bill – in fact a calculation to be made of the UK’s share of projects that we have already agreed to – is something that Theresa May cannot settle because of a deliberate strategy of the hard line Brexiteers on the right wing of her party.
They are in a panic because opinion polls are showing that public opinion has not rallied, as expected, behind Brexit. If anything, it is edging the other way and could well go further as the chaos, confusion and economic damage of the Tory Brexitshambles becomes more and more apparent.
The Brexiteers therefore want to have a row about money, and keep it going as long as possible.
They calculate that this is a subject they can portray as a grasping EU trying to blackmail Britain into paying an unwarranted exit fee. They rely on the complexity of the issue which they hope will deter people from looking beyond the headlines. The tried and tested tactic of Blaming Brussels will, they hope, deflect public disquiet away from them and lessen calls for a rethink on Brexit itself.
In her Florence speech, Theresa May said “The UK will honour commitments we have made during the period of our membership.”
But she has still failed to settle because of the opposition from the Brexit Brigade. This in turn holds up the negotiations on other issues – the sequencing accepted by David Davis at the very first negotiating meeting was to settle “divorce” issues before moving on to the much more important issues of the future relationship.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking…