Boris Johnson: UK will not pay 39 billion pounds just like that
Johnson, a former foreign secretary in May’s cabinet, is popular with ordinary Conservative Party members, who will decide between the two candidates who come top in a series of votes by Conservative lawmakers over the coming weeks.
“I always thought it was extraordinary that we should agree to write that entire cheque before having a final deal. In getting a good deal, money is a great solvent and a great lubricant,” Johnson told the Sunday Times.
Britain is due to leave the EU on Oct. 31. If Parliament does not approve a deal - and the government does not ask the EU for another delay - there risks being major economic disruption from a disorderly departure.
The 39 billion pounds represents outstanding British liabilities to the EU, which would be paid over a number of years according to the withdrawal agreement negotiated by May.
Johnson also said border arrangements with Ireland should be settled only as part of a long-term agreement, rejecting a “backstop” which would avoid checks on Northern Ireland’s border but which Conservative lawmakers fear is a backdoor way of requiring Britain to continue to follow EU rules after Brexit.
The EU has said guarantees to keep the border open between Ireland and Northern Ireland are an essential part of the transition agreement. ■