LONDON – Boris Johnson has claimed that the money the European Union is demanding from the UK over Brexit is “extortionate” and the EU should “go whistle.”
The foreign secretary said on Tuesday that the “sums they [the EU] propose seem to be extortionate and I think go whistle is an entirely appropriate expression.”
Johnson made the remarks during questions to Foreign Office ministers in the House of Commons, and also said that “there is no plan for no deal.”
Responding to a question from Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, who asked what the “no deal plan” was, Johnson responded: “there is no plan for no deal because we’re going to get a great deal.”
This appears to contradict previous statements by the Brexit secretary David Davis and Prime Minister Theresa May, who have both said that “no deal is better than a bad deal.”
Davis previously told the cabinet that the government should prepare for the “unlikely” scenario that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “I think it is ridiculous for the Foreign Secretary to approach important and serious negotiations with that silly, arrogant language that he so often employs.
“Treat people with respect and there’s a fair chance you will be treated with respect in return. If you start on the basis of those silly remarks, what kind of response does he expect to get?”
Watch Boris tell EU to “go whistle”
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) July11, 2017
It was reported on Monday that Theresa May was preparing to face Tory rebellions over the UK’s withdrawal from the European Court of Justice and that she might be forced to ‘soften’ her approach to Brexit.
First Secretary of State Damian Green suggested on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the UK could remain subject to the ECJ during a transitional period after Brexit.
The foreign secretary made the comments at the same time as May relaunched her premiership following her failure to win a majority in last month’s general election.