Labour's shadow Brexit secretary has failed to rule out paying Brussels' proposed £50bn ($64bn) divorce bill, it emerged on Tuesday 25 April. Sir Keir Starmer said a Labour government would be "grown-up" and negotiate with EU officials over the liabilities the UK owes the economic and political bloc.

"Of course, any Labour government would negotiate the liabilities on behalf of our people on behalf of our country," he told a press conference in Westminster, London.

"What we need to do, I think, is to be grown-up and sit down and say 'let's negotiate the principles that underpin the sum – what's the money for, what's the basis it must be paid? And then for us to make clear that we are a country that meets our international obligations."

Starmer, speaking with just more than six weeks to go before the general election on 8 June, warned that it would be "dangerous" for the UK to not meet its obligations since such a move could undermine future trade deals with other nations.

The £50bn figure was first mooted by the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michael Barnier, in December 2016. Brexit Secretary David Davis, addressing a BBC Question Time audience in March, rejected the sum.

"We will, of course, meet our international obligations but we expect also our rights to be respected too," he said. "I don't think we are going to be seeing that sort of money change hands."

Elsewhere, Starmer promised to unilaterally guarantee the residency rights of the more than three million EU nationals living in the UK.

"EU nationals do not just contribute to our society: they are our society. And they should not be used as bargaining chips," he said.

"So on day one of a Labour Government we will immediately guarantee that all EU nationals currently living in the UK will see no change in their legal status as a result of Brexit, and we will seek reciprocal measures for UK citizens in the EU."

But Starmer said EU free movement would have to end after Brexit. "We negotiate on the understand that the rules on immigration will have to change," he said.

The latest opinion poll from ICM for The Guardian, of more than 2,000 people between 21 and 21 April, gave the Conservatives a 21 point lead over Labour (48% versus 27%), with the Liberal Democrats on 10% and Ukip on 7%.