According to Treasury accounts published this week, Britain sent a total of £15.5billion to Brussels in the 12 months leading up to March 31, a 20 percent increase on the £12.9 billion the previous year. Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith, who is leading Boris Johnson’s campaign for Number 10, slammed the figures and took a swipe at Chancellor Philip Hammond for whipping up a “final vote fear tirade”. Mr Hammond this week said he would not rule out backing a no-confidence vote in the government to stop the UK crashing out of the bloc without a deal.
The amount each member state contributes to the EU is calculated by its Gross National Income and the increase is due to the British economy’s growth.
Mr Duncan Smith told The Telegraph: “These figures are eye-popping.
“It’s ironic that as Philip Hammond launches his final vote fear tirade whilst voting against his Government – without having the decency or principle to resign – the Treasury shows that an increasing amount of British taxpayers’ money continues to pour into bottomless EU coffers.”
Mr Hammond was criticised by chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) Jacob Rees-Mogg this week for holding a “silly” view of how a no-deal Brexit could impact the UK.
Mr Rees-Mogg argued a hard Brexit could add up to £80 billion to the economy, while Mr Hammond said it would shave off £90billion.
Richard Wellings, deputy research director and head of transport at the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs, said the UK ridding itself of EU membership would be of benefit to businesses.
He tweeted: “A clean Brexit would make the UK better off by liberating businesses from costly EU red tape, reducing trade barriers with the rest of the world, and ending the huge payments to the EU budget.”
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1.10pm update: Economist in favour of no-deal tipped for role of Bank of England Governor
Gerard Lyons, a former adviser to Boris Johnson when he was London mayor, has been interviewed for the role of Governor of the Bank of England, according to reports.
An editor of The Times tweeted: “Gerard Lyons, former adviser to Boris Johnson and prominent Brexiteer, has been interviewed for role of Governor of the Bank of England
“He has argued that no deal may be only viable option for leaving the EU
“Boris Johnson will pick next Governor if he becomes PM.”
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday in June, Mr Lyons praised Mr Johnson , saying: “’I would say that at City Hall he took a very pro-business approach – sticking up for banks and the City in the years when no one else would dare.”
12.21pm update: Trump praises Johnson – ‘he’s going to do a great job’
The US President tipped Mr Johnson to fix her Brexit “disaster”, even though the result of the Conservative Party leadership contest has not even been announced yet.
Mr Trump, who has made no secret of his support for the former London Mayor’s candidacy, was speaking after a telephone conversation with Mr Johnson.
He told reporters in Washington: “I spoke to him yesterday, I think he’s going to do a great job, I think we’re going to have a great relationship.”
Read full story here.
11.51am update: Anti-Brexit March for Change kicks off in London
Protesters will take to the streets of central London on Saturday calling for Brexit to be cancelled.
The March for Change will feature a blimp of Tory frontrunner Boris Johnson, an echo of the infamous giant inflatable caricature of Donald Trump.
Campaigner are eager to “make it clear to Boris Johnson that we want to stop the Brexit chaos”.
10.55am update: Lord Heseltine says no-deal Brexit would be undemocratic
Former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine said “inflicting” Brexit on the UK without a so-called People’s Vote would be undemocratic, as would a no-deal.
During a speech at a Derby rally for a second referendum, Lord Heseltine called for the British public to be given a final say on any Brexit deal.
The People’s Vote ‘Let Us Be Heard’ event on Friday night attracted hundreds of guests and speakers including Dame Margaret Beckett MP, Anna Soubry MP and Lord Richard Newby, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords.
In a message to the new Prime Minister, Lord Heseltine said: “Before you subject the British people to the economic downside of Brexit.
“Before you risk the integrity of the United Kingdom itself -consult the people.
“Now the facts are clearer, let the people vote.”
The campaign for a second Brexit referendum is holding more than a dozen rallies across the country over the coming months.
The drive will culminate with a People’s Vote march is London on October 12.
10.25am update: May pledges her ‘absolute’ loyalty to new PM, but remains ‘disappointed’ over Brexit
In her final interview before stepping down as Prime Minister next week, Theresa May has assured Britain’s next leader she will be “absolutely” loyal to him.
Mrs May’s successor – either Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt or Boris Johnson – will be announced on May 23.
Speaking to the Daily Express from her office in Downing Street on Thursday, Mrs May When asked if she would support the new premier.
She said: “Absolutely – it is important that we have a Conservative government, particularly given the nature of the opposition that we have at the moment.
“I will be doing everything I can to make sure that we have a Conservative government.”
She also touched on her disappointment at being unable to take the UK out of the bloc.
She said: “I did everything I could to get the deal over the line. When Parliament objected to certain aspects of the deal, I went back to the EU not just once but several times to get changes; I got changes. At the end of the day, I put my job on the line.”