POLITICS

Boris Johnson Says UK Will Not Pay 'Extortionate' Brexit Bill To EU

Foreign secretary agrees Brussels should 'go whistle'.

11/07/2017 12:37 BST | Updated 11/07/2017 13:40 BST

Boris Johnson has accused the European Union of demanding an “extortionate” amount of money in the Brexit negotiations and said the United Kingdom will not pay.

It has been reported that Brussels could ask for €60bn, or as much as €100bn, from Britain as the price for leaving the EU.

The price tag is based on financial obligations the other member states believe the UK would need to settle on its way out the door.

Speaking in the Commons today, Johnson said: “The sums that I have seen they propose to demand from this country seem to me to be extortionate.”

The foreign secretary agreed with eurosceptic Tory backbencher Philip Hollobone who said Brussels should not expect the UK to pay any more money than it already has.

Hollobone asked Johnson: “Will you make it clear to the EU that if they want a penny piece more then they can go whistle?”

Johnson’s comments appear at odds with Brexit secretary David Davis, who has said the UK will “meet” its “legal” obligations.

The foreign secretary also said there was “no plan” for what would happen if the UK failed to agree a Brexit deal with the EU.

“There is no plan for no deal because we are going to get a great deal,” he said.

But James Chapman, a former senior adviser Davis, said it “factually incorrect” to say no planning had been done.

Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, criticised the government for failing to produce a contingency plan.

“It is the prime minister, at least the prime minister for now, who decided to put the idea of the ‘no deal’ option on the table - and she couldn’t stop using the phrase during the election,” she told MPs.

Thornberry asked Johnson: “What would no deal would mean? Can he reassure us, if he is not prepared to tell us publicly, at the very least he has a detailed private plan to manage that risk.”

Tom Brake, the Lib Dem Brexit spokesman, said the lack of a plan for no deal showed a “shocking level of complacency”.

“These kind of glib assurances are straight out of the Trump playbook. It is simply not good enough when people’s jobs, living standards and rights are all on the line,” he said.

“People should be able to judge Boris Johnson on his actions not his words, with the chance to reject a disastrous Brexit deal and stay in the EU.”

 Yesterday Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has said his country wants to seal a free trade agreement with the UK “as soon as possible” after Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

Turnbull’s comments came after he held talks at 10 Downing Street with Theresa May, who revealed that International Trade Secretary Liam Fox will visit Australia in the “coming months” as part of ongoing talks on an agreement.