How much will Brexit cost the UK?

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Before the referendum, many pro-Brexit campaigners and supporters cited the cost of EU membership as a strong reason for leaving.

But the reality is that there's likely to be hefty divorce bill - one which could run into tens of billions of pounds.

Estimates have put the cost between £15 billion and £52bn, with the final tally including:

  • Future budget payments to less well-off countries

  • Pensions for all EU staff, not just Brits

  • Future liabilities for loans to struggling member states, such as Portugal, Ireland and Hungary.

ITV News asked two of the country's top EU academics to role-play how the upcoming negotiations between the UK and the Union might go.

Prof Anan Menon, playing the part of Brexiteers in the UK, pointed out that many pro-Brexit supporters would think it "ridiculous" that Britain should pay anything at all - particularly since the House of Lords found there was no legal obligation to pay to leave.

But Prof Catherine Barnard pointed out that regardless of the legal position, to maintain its reputation as trustworthy and reliable, Britain really ought to cough up.

And the French and the Czechs have set their estimates at £50bn.According to Prof Menon, however, even if it agrees to pay a so-called divorce bill, Britain still has the opportunity to opt-out of paying towards aspects it does not agree with - including such things as liabilities for loans.

At the end of the day, it is likely to be a compromise somewhere between £15bn and £40bn, they agreed.

However, Theresa May will then face a challenge from those who insist that Britain should reject the idea of paying a penny for the privilege of leaving the European Union.