Neither the United Kingdom, nor the European Union, publishes an aggregate audited figure representing the total net financial contribution since the UK joined the EEC, but details of annual UK public sector contributions to the EU are published in a document entitled “European Union Finances”, the latest edition of which was published in February in 2016.
A one-word answer with a figure would have been more helpful than the answer the Minister has given me. I suspect that the answer is that a massive amount of money is being handed over by British taxpayers to the European Union. As in any good divorce, that will entitle us to a huge share of the EU’s assets or to massive financial compensation if we do not get that.
My hon. Friend is right—it is rather a lot; but the issue is to what extent the United Kingdom is liable for payment of anything, and if so, how much. The point is this: the United Kingdom has always adhered to its international treaty obligations, and it will continue to do so. It will adhere to those obligations, but, similarly, it will insist on the rights it has pursuant to those treaties, and that is the basis on which it will approach these negotiations.