Boris Johnson has been defending his much quoted jibe that the EU could “go whistle” over the Brexit bill.
The UK and EU are widely believed to have now agreed a deal which will see the UK paying up to 50bn euros (£44bn).
But the foreign secretary said he had been referring, in July, to reports the UK could face a 100bn euro bill.
He spoke as talks continue about the remaining sticking point in the initial phase of Brexit talks – what happens at the Northern Ireland border.
The foreign secretary said – at a question and answer session after a speech on global terrorism – that whatever was agreed must be “consistent with taking back control of our laws, of our borders and our cash”.
His “go whistle” comment was made in a response in the House of Commons to Conservative backbencher Philip Hollobone:
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionBoris Johnson’s message to the EU: “Go whistle seems to me to be an entirely appropriate expression”
Mr Johnson said the comment had been held against him since, but at the time he had been “asked my reaction to some of the very extortionate sums that I had heard, in the region of £80bn or £100bn”.
He said that on detailed examination of financial obligations “the British government is absolutely punctilious in wanting to meet our friends more than halfway and to be useful.
“The financial offer we are making is very good but it is nowhere near the sums that I was first invited to comment on, in a musical way.”
Where are the Brexit talks at now?
The government says it is “optimistic” about finding a solution to the key sticking point – an agreement on the Irish border.
The government needs to get everyone onside on the issue in the coming days for Brexit negotiations to move forwards.
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionChris Grayling: I’m optimistic about deal
The UK, which is due to leave the EU in March 2019, wants to open talks on a new free trade deal as soon as possible.
But the EU will only agree to this when enough progress has been made on the “separation issues” – the “divorce bill”, expat citizens’ rights and the Northern Ireland border – that have been the subject of negotiations so far.
So the UK is trying to settle the Northern Ireland border issue before EU leaders meet next week.
The sticking point explained
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionArlene Foster claimed the Irish government prevented the DUP seeing the wording of the text
On Monday, the DUP – whose support Prime Minister Theresa May needs to win key votes at Westminster – objected to draft plans drawn up by the UK and the EU.
The DUP said the proposals, which aimed to avoid border checks by aligning regulations on both sides of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, were not acceptable.
The party has said it will not accept any agreement in which Northern Ireland is treated differently from the rest of the UK.
The Republic of Ireland – which is an EU member – says it wants a guarantee that a hard border will not be put up after Brexit.
A European Commission spokesman said there was “no white smoke yet” on Brexit negotiations.
Can border checks be avoided?
Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Disagreements remain over how the Irish border should be treated after Brexit
With Brexit, the UK is leaving the EU’s customs union – but Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said this did not mean there would need to be a physical border with people carrying out border checks.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the transport secretary said people had misunderstood the key term “regulatory alignment” which has been the focus of the debate.
Some Eurosceptics who do not want to keep close ties to Brussels fear this could hamper the UK’s ability to strike trade deals with other countries.
But Mr Grayling, a key Leave campaigner in the 2016 referendum, said: “We don’t have to have, and we’ve never said we will, and we don’t want, to have a situation where in future our laws are identical to the European Union.
“There will be areas where we do do things in a very similar way, there will be areas in which we don’t do things in the a very similar way and that’s all the PM was seeking to ensure – to make sure trade flows as freely as possible across the border.”
He added: “I remain absolutely optimistic that we will reach a successful point, we will move on to the trade talks, because ultimately it is in everybody’s interests for that to happen.”
What is the deadline for a deal?
The BBC’s Adam Fleming said that following an update from chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier on Wednesday, EU member states agreed there must be clarity within 48 hours for them to have enough time to consult with their capitals about draft guidelines for phase two of the talks.
At the 14-15 December summit, European leaders will decide whether enough progress has been made in the negotiations on Ireland, the UK’s “divorce bill” and citizens’ rights so far to open trade talks.
On Wednesday the Republic of Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he expected Theresa May to come up with a new wording aimed at satisfying all parties, adding: “I expressed my willingness to consider that.”
A European Commission spokesman said on Thursday that things have to be sorted this week, adding: “Our week includes Sunday.”
Not all Theresa May’s MPs agree
As well as trying to appease the DUP, Dublin and Brussels, Theresa May also needs Conservative MPs to back whatever solution she puts forward.
But not all of them agree – and the pressure on the prime minister was underlined on Wednesday when 19 Tory MPs who back a “soft Brexit” wrote to her saying it was “highly irresponsible” for anyone to dictate terms which may scupper a deal.
This followed Eurosceptic MPs urging her to lay down new red lines before agreeing to hand over any money.
In the latest letter, the 19 MPs – who largely backed Remain in the 2016 referendum – say they support the PM’s handling of the negotiations, in particular the “political and practical difficulties” relating to the Irish border.
But they hit out at what they say are attempts by some in their party to paint a no-deal scenario in which the UK failed to agree a trade agreement as “some status quo which the UK simply opts to adopt”.
The MPs included former cabinet ministers Stephen Crabb, Dominic Grieve, Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan.
Should Brexit be delayed?
That’s the suggestion from a House of Lords committee, which says a “time-limited extension of the UK’s EU membership” would “buy time” for a deal to be reached.
The committee doubts exit negotiations will be completed by the scheduled departure date of March 2019.
The UK is due to leave the EU at this point because Theresa May formally triggered a two-year countdown to Brexit in March 2017.
The government does not agree, and says it is confident negotiations can be completed by March 2019.
But the Lords committee says: “The overwhelming weight of evidence suggests that this will be impossible.
“If buying a bit more time means that we get a better outcome, which benefits businesses and citizens on both sides, a short extension of EU membership may be a price worth paying.”
Theresa May’s allies urge her to delay holding Cabinet reshuffle to May after ending year on unexpected high
THERESA May’s allies are urging her to delay a government reshuffle to May after her surprise end to the year on a high. The Prime Minister has been widely expected to freshen up her ageing Cabinet…
THERESA May’s allies are urging her to delay a government reshuffle to May after her surprise end to the year on a high.
The Prime Minister has been widely expected to freshen up her ageing Cabinet with four or five new faces at the start of the New Year.
PA Theresa May’s allies are urging her to delay a Cabine reshuffle to May
She has also privately caved to backbench pressure to promote more younger Tory MP rising stars onto the frontbench for the first time.
But the unexpected upturn in the troubled PM’s fortunes by securing Phase Two of Brexit talks has lead to a rethink among some in No10.
Mrs May’s aides are split over whether to now carry out the reshuffle after the council elections in May instead, when a wipeout in the cities is feared.
Holding on another five months would also help keep ministers in line over the crucial internal deliberations until March over what exactly to ask the EU for in a Brexit trade deal.
PA Education Secretary Justine Greening, Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire and Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, pictured, are also said to be vulnerable
One close ally of Mrs May told The Sun: “A reshuffle is not a card any PM can play too often, so you should only do one when you really have to.
“They have a habit of creating more problems than they solve, so there is a growing feeling not to rock the boat now Theresa is looking more solid.
“We will also get an undoubted kicking at the locals in May, so we’ll need something to regain the initiative after them.”
Next year’s local elections on Thursday May 3 are largely being held only in the bigger towns and cities, including all 32 London boroughs.
PA The PM will decide on when to hold the second reshuffle of her reign as PM over the Christmas break
The Tories suffered heavy losses in the urban areas at the June general election and senior party figures fear a repeat drubbing, leaving the poll’s aftermath a moment of certain danger for Mrs May.
The PM will decide on when to hold the second reshuffle of her reign as PM over the Christmas break.
First Secretary Damian Green ongoing sexual harassment probe is also a key factor in her thinking, The Sun has been told.
Mrs May wants her de facto deputy’s precarious situation to be resolved first so she knows whether he needs to be replaced.
Porn legend Keiran Lee attacks cyber bullies after three adult star deaths in five weeks
A TOP porn star claims cyber bullies are having a devastating impact on the industry – after the sudden deaths of three adult performers in recent weeks. Renowned Brit adult entertainer Keira…
A TOP porn star claims cyber bullies are having a devastating impact on the industry – after the sudden deaths of three adult performers in recent weeks.
Renowned Brit adult entertainer Keiran Lee has today paid tribute to his friend August Ames who was found dead after a tweet she posted sparked a homophobic row.
Getty – Contributor Keiran Lee has slammed cyber bullies who attacked August in the days before her death
Shyla Stylez and Yuri Luv were also found dead in tragic circumstances within just five weeks of each other — leading to calls for action from colleagues and fans.
Speaking to The Sun from the capital of porn Los Angeles, Derby-born Keiran, 33, said: “Cyber bullying was the final push for August.
“If you’re reading hate after hate every day it’s going to knock your confidence and make you question certain things.
“Porn stars are no different to sport personalities, or film stars who have to put up with trolls every day.
@msmaplefever : Instagram X-rated actress August Ames died last month after a battle with depression Porn star August Ames dead at 23 after starring in more than 270 flicks
“I get a lot of Twitter hate. I don’t post anything about my family because if I was to put a picture of my son up, I would get messages like ‘oh yeah you’re son’s going to be so proud. You’re a w***e you’re going to go to hell’.”
He added: “Everyone is probably thinking she’s just another porn girl who has died after doing too many drugs, but that’s 110 per cent not the case.
“She was not a party girl. She would go to work, come home and smoke weed watching c**p films and play with her cats.
“Everyone in the industry is very shocked and saddened. “
Twenty three-year-old August, who performed in more than 270 x-rated flicks since joining the industry in 2014, was found hanged in a park close to the California home she shared with her husband Kevin Moore.
In the days before her death, August, whose real name was Mercedes Grabowski, had been attacked online after saying she wouldn’t shoot a scene with an actor who had performed in gay porn.
She is believed to have been battling with depression before her death on December 5.
@msmaplefever : Instagram Ames had previously spoken about depression and others are now stressing the need for discussion
Since then, many inside and outside the porn industry have demanded answers following the sudden three deaths.
Keiran, who has starred in more than 1,200 scenes in his career, said: “You would never have guessed those girls would have killed themselves.
“Ever since everyone has been checking in with each other.
“It has brought the industry even closer together, even stronger. Although it’s a very large industry, it’s also very close knit.
“We have all said enough is enough with these cyber bullies, we shouldn’t be having to put up with it.”
Instagram The tragic death of porn actress Yurizan Beltran was announced on Friday Instagram Yuri’s death has sparked a call for answers as concerns over performers’ mental health is raised Porn star Yurizan Beltran found dead at age 31 after a suspected overdose
Yuri, also known as Yurizan Beltran, died at the age of 31, with early reports suggesting she may have overdosed on pills.
Shy Love, a friend of Yuri, said: “Being a porn star is a harder job them most can imagine and I wish that porn girls got way more respect for their jobs and hard work.”
Announcing her death, Dan Hogue, from PornStar Platinum, said: “It is with a heavy heart I write this.
“The entire PornStar Platinum family is in mourning at the news of the loss of one of its family members.
Twitter Canadian Shyla Stylez was found unresponsive at her mum’s home
“Yuri was found today at the age of 31. She was always kind to me and we will miss her.”
Colleague Nickey Milo said: “Beltran died of an apparent drug overdose… There were pills found near the bed.”
Canadian Shyla Stylez, real name Amanda Friedland, was found unresponsive at her mum’s home last month.
The 35-year-old reportedly died in her sleep at the property in British Columbia on November 9.
Former Coronation Street star Bruno Langley had sex with girl, 16, and asked her to read him erotic novel 50 Shades
CORRIE pervert Bruno Langley preyed on a 16-year-old girl before they had sex at her home. Langley, then 29, continued to pester the teen after she dumped him. She said of the star, who groped two …
CORRIE pervert Bruno Langley preyed on a 16-year-old girl before they had sex at her home.
Langley, then 29, continued to pester the teen after she dumped him.
Rex Features Ex-Coronation Street star Bruno Langley had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl
She said of the star, who groped two clubbers: “He was creepy.”
Bruno Langley asked the 16-year-old girl to read him passages from 50 Shades of Grey on their first date.
She told how the actor, axed from Coronation Street for groping two women, joked about how young she looked on their first date.
Now 21, she recalled: “When he was buying the cinema tickets, the cashier said, ‘Two adults?’ And he laughed and said, ‘Well, not really’.”
Tony Spencer The girl, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she dumped the actor for being ‘creepy’
As he walked her home, the sleazy soap star spied the erotic novel 50 Shades in her handbag.
She said: “He then asked me to read it to him, which was so embarrassing and cringeworthy.”
She said Langley, who played Todd Grimshaw in the ITV soap, marched over to her at a party in July 2012 — just weeks after she left school.
The bar worker, who we are not naming, recalled: “He said, ‘Why isn’t my number in your phone?’ He was pretty famous, so I was taken aback he came over.
“And he seemed nice, even though he was a bit cocky. I think he fancied himself more than I did.”
PA:Press Association The actor, who has been axed from Coronation Street, has pleaded guilty to indecent assaults on two women while in a nightclub
They messaged and talked while she was on holiday, then began to see each other twice a week when she returned.
She said they had sex in her bedroom but she ended the relationship after six weeks as he was getting too clingy.
She recalled: “He was just a bit creepy. I went to a festival and he was texting me, asking to see me when I returned.
“But I said ‘no’ because I was so tired. I ended up falling asleep on the sofa and he turned up at my door. I thought that was completely desperate and quite strange.”
Tony Spencer The bar worker, now aged 21, began texting Bruno Langley after meeting him a party weeks after finishing school
She ordered him to leave then ignored all his messages but Langley got back in touch with her in January 2013.
By then she was seeing someone else, yet she said he continued to pester her at work, until just weeks before his arrest in September for sexual assault.
She said: “I found out from a friend about the charges and I wasn’t surprised.”
Langley, 34, of Altrincham, Gtr Manchester, pleaded guilty last month to indecent assaults on two women at a nightclub.
Bruno Langley leaves court after sentencing for sexual assault Rex Features Bruno Langley, 34, blamed his sex attacks on women on the stress of playing a gay character on Coronation Street
Magistrates heard he grabbed the crotch of one victim in front of her husband and also intimately touched another.
He was spared prison, instead receiving a 12-month community order while being ordered to sign the sex offenders register.
The dad of one issued a grovelling apology for the nightclub assaults and promised to get help for alcohol addiction.
He said: “It must have been awful for those women, and I’m ashamed of myself. I’m truly sorry.”
News Group Newspapers Ltd Bruno Langley was spared prison for indecently assaulting two women, but received a 12-month community order
But his former teen lover said last night: “I don’t think his apology will wash with anyone. He didn’t have a drinking problem when he was preying on me.”
She went on: “I was so young and naive. But I am now old enough to know the age gap was inappropriate.
“Hopefully this has been a wake up-call to him. The whole thing left me feeling really dirty.”
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