Fifty billion to leave the European Union; three billion to prepare for leave; start adding it up and pretty soon you're talking real money. Thinking of that old Ronald Reagan gag this morning. It is amazing how the government's insistence on strict spending limits can go out the window when politics intervenes.
Or rather, it shows you how much some Tories really hate what they imagine to be the EU.
The Brexit preparation bill at least seems to be mainly sleight of hand. The three billion comes out of departmental budgets in places like the Foreign Office that can then reapply for the Brexit pot to offset the money that they need to prepare for Brexit, so probably the same money will just be reshuffled around the system. Such are the vagaries of Budget presentation.