Britain has had to cave in, say analysts, with secret financial settlement in stark contrast to bombast of triggering article 50

When the time came to hoist the white flag, the cabinet’s swashbuckling Brexiters were nowhere to be seen. Instead, it was left to civil servants to hammer out the terms of Britain’s expensive retreat from the EU, settling a divorce bill that could pave the way for a wider exit agreement struck almost entirely on terms demanded by Brussels.

The secretive circumstances of the financial settlement, which were not even officially confirmed by ministers in parliament on Wednesday, are a far cry from the public fanfare that accompanied the start of the Brexit negotiations. When Theresa May invoked article 50 in March, she boasted that it was time to “make our own decisions and our own laws … to take control of the things that matter most to us”.

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