EU chiefs have been jolted into action by Britain’s threat to withhold its £39billion Brexit divorce bill, it was revealed yesterday.
Sources say they have finally got the message that we mean business and won’t cough up a penny unless we strike a trade deal.
New Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab opened talks last week by insisting the massive payment would be conditional on Brussels fulfilling its side of the bargain.
His threat was roundly dismissed by Remainers who claimed the cash had been agreed and there were no strings attached.
But EU negotiator Michel Barnier, who met Mr Raab on Thursday, has admitted: “It is indeed right there is agreement on nothing until we have agreement on everything.”
He added that legal certainty would come with the ratification of the final treaty and stressed he is working towards that end.
It is indeed right there is agreement on nothing until we have agreement on everything
Last night a senior government source said: “The message that we will not be paying vast sums without a trade deal has been received loud and clear. Conditionality is now on the table.”
The development is a big breakthrough for new broom Mr Raab, who was promoted to the Cabinet post after David Davis resigned over the Chequers blueprint.
Mr Raab said: “We had a good constructive discussion about in practice how we make sure there is a link between those two key areas of the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration of the future framework.”