UK’s Brexit department has already spent more than £260,000 of taxpayers’ money on legal fees

Former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg requested the information

LAST UPDATED: 8 Sep, 2016 @ 17:13

brexit departmentTHE UK government’s new Brexit department has spent more than a quarter of a million pounds of taxpayers’ money on legal advice.

In the two months since it was created, the new department has splashed £268,711 (€317,525), raising doubts over how prepared the Conservative Party is for taking the country out of the EU.

David Jones

Brexit Minister David Jones said the department is currently estimating the cost for the next 12 months, adding that nothing has been spent on external legal firms.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, who requested the information, said: “Anyone who thinks Brexit will be quick or easy is seriously mistaken.

Nick Clegg1
Nick Clegg

“This huge taxpayer-funded Brexit bill for legal advice shows how ill-prepared Whitehall is for what will be the biggest and most complex set of negotiations it has ever attempted.

“But it is not just legal advice where the government is ill-prepared – we simply don’t have anything like the number of trade negotiators necessary to establish a new trading relationship with the EU or other countries.

“The process of leaving the European Union, regardless of what deal the Government eventually agrees, will be long and painful and risks a long period of uncertainty for British business, jobs and our wider economy.”

Staunch Brexiteer and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox told MP’s on Thursday morning:

liam fox
Liam Fox

“We are not intending to create a standing army of bureaucrats that would be expensive to the taxpayer.

“My department already has a strong and capable trade policy team, which has doubled since June 23.

“In the next two years we will be developing that team to build the world-class negotiating strength needed to deliver the best outcomes for the UK.”


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  1. So far we now know that we won’t be getting the £350m back a week for the NHS, and we won’t getting a points based system for immigration (we actually already have one in place already for non-EU nationals, yet people do not know about it – and that didn’t work either as there are more non-EU immigrants entering the UK than EU immigrants). Meanwhile lots of illegal immigrants continue to enter the UK, as they have always done, and as they always will. However, what we do know is that the U.S. has now said that we are at the back of the queue, and the Japanese are now threatening to pull out of the UK, and that the next French PM will be moving “The Jungle” to Dover. Lovely. And this all long before Brexit has even happened of course. Well done Boris, good job.

    • Yes, spot on Fred, great stuff isn’t it, I wonder if the 3 dunderheads have any great ideas stashed away? No, of course not, they haven’t got a clue and will just muddle on and then blame everyone else when it all goes wrong. Clegg is right for once.

  2. As usual you do come out with some crap. Decisions on leaving the EU has not been made yet and no decisions could be made until the majority of the British people voted in the referendum. Even Cameron had no idea and was was prepared to remain under the rule of Junker. Do you actually know the terms that the Government are considering as you appear to know the terms of remaining. The points system was a suggestion which has been shown not being good enough, but there are other means which will come forward. I think most people knew that visa’s are required by non-EU nationals the same as most countries that requires a visa, but you tend to forget that visa’s were required not only for Non-EU members but also EU countries prior to the common market.
    As for the American back of the queue, you tend not to mention that Obama will not be President next year or even Merkel will not be around. British trade with the America at the moment is twice larger than the trade with the EU even without a free trade agreement and if Trump is the next president he said Britain will be in front of the queue.
    If you are talking about the next French PM, which I doubt very much he will win, was the person that signed up to the Calais agreement anyway and if Penn becomes the next PM of France she will be pulling France out of the EU and will be shipping all the migrants back from where they came from, which should have been done from the beginning. You well know the International law regarding immigrants. Most EU countries are now having second thoughts and the idea of having a EU as it currently stands is about to change. We know the bleak outlook in remaining, no democracy, a Federal state, a EU army, more countries wish to join the gravy train, which the British tax payers will be paying for and giving full access to the UK and all it’s beauties , and to top it all controlled by unelected personal not elected by the people. Btw, how does the £268k compare to the millions spent on the fear campaign which never materialized.

    • Calm down Nosey, you already have zero credibility after using a succession of multiple aliases over many years, and have been banned from forum site on numerous occasions. I always know when you don’t like hearing the facts as you get all rude and personal lol.

      All of the things you state are equally unknown. Will Merkel be gone? Will Trump be president? Weill Le Penn be French PM? You don’t know, neither do I, but I have at least stated facts previously. Japan has said that they are thinking of pulling out of the UK, and it’s US policy regarding trade deals, not Obama’s policy. Trump is the king of U-turns. The Brexit points system, that was so widely talked about by the current Foreign Secretary (lol) has been ruled out, and he didn’t mention once during the campaign that we already had such a system, and where did the NHS money go? (you remained quiet on that one Nose). Whoever is the next French PM, there will be massive pressure to undo the Dublin accord, and you forgot to mention that if Le Penn does become PM, and takes France out of Europe, there won’t be a Dublin accord and The Jungle will still move to Dover. Meanwhile, illegal immigrants are still getting in to the UK and Brexit does not magically stop this. Even a job offer will not deter immigrants, as in the digital age such a barrier is easily overcome.

      I dislike Junker massively and the EU needs reforming, on that we can agree. Sadly, Brexit is not the panacea it was made out to be.

  3. What has been spent is a drop in the ocean compared to the estimated cost of Cameron’s daft referendum reckoned to be £142.4 million which I don’t think includes his £9.3 million theft of taxpayers’ money for his weird leaflet drop and some daft people want another referendum at more cost lol He gambled and called the referendum and the fault for all this is his and other cronies. The dunderheads were Cameron and Osborne and their scaremongering campaigners! Clegg is also a loser and irrelevant now.

    However its good to hear the Swiss want to discuss aligning with the UK, and Australia wishes to have a trade agreement, its early days but things have been far better than the scaremongers threatened.

    • “What has been spent is a drop in the ocean compared to the estimated cost of Cameron’s daft referendum”

      So far, that is Mike. The final legal costs of Brexit will easily dwarf this figure over the next few years, given the complexities involved, or do you really think the legal costs so far won’t increase?

      The Swiss are on borrowed time with their free market access. The EU will not permit this indefinitely, indeed the EU have recently told the Swiss that they will not have single market access if it denies free movement of EU citizens. A decision is weeks away on this according to sources and will be interesting for the UK as it mirrors their problem. I wonder what enormous trade the UK can do with tiny Switzerland lol.

      • I agree regarding final bill will be huge but Cameron called this debacle and it looks like we will live with it. I was pointing out what had been spent already just holding the ref., and his leaflet drop, and possible new ref. if Remoan somehow get their way, in comparison to the amount in the article. We voted differently, the vote surprised me and many others and I realise its not what you want but I’m happy with it so far. The desperate scaremongering was what undid the Remain party. Cameron the idiot said he wouldn’t quit and promptly did, his legacy will be abject failure.

        Re borrowed time that may well apply to Greece, Italy, Portugal etc even the whole EU if Brexit spreads.

  4. £9million spent by remain on useless pamphlets which mostly went straight in the bin !

    Let us wait and see for a little longer, lots of planning ahead.

  5. The UK has not yet submitted its Brexit application to the EU and nobody knows when it will do so.
    Also the negotiations will last for many years until the Brexit will be formally finished. During this time the UK is a full member of the EU and will have to follow the EU policy regarding the refugees, but will have minor influence on shaping this policy.
    If Penn wins in France, she will send the Calais people to Dover. If the EU agrees on a common refugy policy, the EU will care for minimizing the risks for the EU and will not care if refugees decide to move to the ‘external’ UK.
    As the Calais people demonstrate, the UK is as attractive to the refugees as Germany. Therefor wouldn’t it be wise for the UK to participate in shaping a common EU refugee policy and securing the EU external borders instead of fighting alone, with perhaps Australia and Switzerland on your side only?