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20 July 2017

Supreme Court Brexit case cost £1.2 million

The legal cost of attempting to prevent a House of Commons vote on the triggering of Article 50 cost the Government £1.2 million, it has been revealed.

Figures from the Department for Exiting the EU's annual report show that, overall, David Davis's team spent barely half of its £50 million budget for 2016/17.

But it squandered £1,143,000 on a losing battle to stop MPs voting on Brexit.

A further £78,000 went on a separate case relating to the European Economic Area, which was blocked by the High Court.

The department's biggest expense was staffing, at £14 million, with legal costs the next biggest expense at £3.7m.

When the department was created in July of last year it had 56 staff, a number which had risen to 384 by the end of March 2017 - and is expected to grow further still.

Labour's shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said: "Taking this case to the Supreme Court was a colossal waste of time and money. Parliament needed be brought into the Brexit process, not pushed away.

"To have spent over £1 million of taxpayers' money trying to avoid Parliamentary scrutiny says all you need to know about this Prime Minister's priorities and her closed, divisive approach to Brexit."

In a foreword to the report, Mr Davis said: "We are now in a strong position to deliver a smooth and orderly exit.

"As the first year and first phase of the UK's exit from the EU has ended, another year and another phase start with the negotiations for our exit deal now under way. I know that with the continued energy and creativity shown by the Department so far, we will deliver a deal that works for everyone."

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