Iain Duncan Smith has slapped down European Union officials who have been touting a £50billion divorce bill for Britain to pay the EU before Brexit can be finalised.
The stalwart Brexit campaigner said several EU leaders were actually backing down from this threat after realising they may owe the UK more than the UK owes them.
In an interview with Pienaar Politics, the former Conservative minister said that the European Union was more divided in its negotiation line than the British media was reporting.
Iain Duncan Smith tells Jon Pienaar the European Union owes Britain in Brexit deal
He told Jon Pienaar: “All the talk about how the EU will be hard, or tough, or wants to punish us is nonsense.
“You are starting to see divisions within the EU, between what the nation want and what the European Commission wants.”
The strident Brexiteer pointed out that Angela Merkel’s right-hand man Wolfgang Schauble even recently branded the idea of a massive divorce bill “nonsense”.
This follows similar remarks from former World Trade Organisation chief Pascal Lammy.
Mr Smith continued: "They are not all agreed on this.
"Schauble said it was ridiculous to ask us to pay money in without knowing what the ultimate arrangement is.
"There is a beginning of a change in the line the Europeans are taking. We have to discuss what is owed to whom.
"What hasn’t been talked about is our ownership of assets in the EU. It’s pretty substantial."
Iain Duncan Smith slapped down European Union officials who have been touting a £50billion divorce
Smith hit back at threats from the European UnionSmith hit back at threats from the European Union
All the talk about how the EU will be hard, or tough, or wants to punish us is nonsense
Iain Duncan Smith
The Tory MP explained: “There is intellectual property rights and physical ownership of investment.
“There is massive amount of calculation the EU need to do to look at what the EU is due on departure.”
Pienaar jumped in and asked whether the Europeans could “end up owing us more than we owe them?”
Mr Smith responded: “It is wholly feasible that the balance in payment is in the wrong direction for them."
The Leave campaigner said several EU leaders were actually backing down from this threat
He added: "That is why Schauble and others have said stop this nonsense. Let’s first talk about the relationship we want between the EU and the UK."
Iain Duncan Smith’s firm line against the EU Commission threats comes in sharp contrast to Labour Shadow Brexit minister Kier Starmer’s admission today on the Andrew Marr Show that Britain has to pay up as part of its obligations.