Boris’ ‘we won’t pay £39bn we owe’ threat = hardest Brexit

by Hugo Dixon | 09.06.2019

Boris Johnson isn’t just saying we’ll quit the EU on October 31 with or without a deal if he becomes prime minister. The Tory frontrunner has added that he won’t pay the EU the £39 billion we owe it until we get a good deal.

This threat will antagonise our remaining friends in the EU. They already hate Johnson. If he gets into Downing Street and carries out his threat, they will not back down. After all, they are so much bigger than us. We need the EU more than it needs us.

The barriers will go up. Trade will collapse. The EU will refuse to deal with us until we pay what we owe – money Theresa May’s government accepted we owe in December 2017 when Johnson was foreign secretary.

We will be plunged into a political and economic crisis. In the ensuing chaos, it is quite likely we will be forced to go on bended knee and sue the EU for peace. Johnson will have inflicted a humiliation on our country like nothing we ever have witnessed.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, he said: “I think our friends and partners need to understand that the monies [are] going to be retained until such time as we have greater clarity about the way forward. In getting a good deal money is a great solvent and a great lubricant.”

Johnson is no fool. He knows this bombast isn’t going to work with the EU. But the dynamics of the Tory leadership race are forcing him to make more and more extreme statements about Brexit.

The reason? True Brexiters such as Nigel Farage know that Johnson isn’t one of them. They are afraid that, once he gets into Downing Street, he will flip-flop. He’ll find a way to delay Brexit, soften it or even stop it. So to pretend he really is Mr Tough Guy, he beats his chest and roars like a gorilla.

Johnson is a political Houdini like few others. But even he may end up so trapped by his rhetoric that he can’t wriggle out of his commitments to quit on October 31 and not pay the money we owe.

The only way to stop the madness will then be for Parliament to take back control. Fortunately, MPs have several ways to force Johnson to ask the EU for extra time, call a general election or hold a referendum – and they are already plotting how to do this, according to the Sunday Times.

Still, there’s a risk that the parliamentary manoeuvering will fail and we will crash out without a deal. Even if we don’t, the country will be forced to endure yet more of a charade which is polluting our democracy and tearing apart the fabric of society.

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11 Responses to “Boris’ ‘we won’t pay £39bn we owe’ threat = hardest Brexit”

  • It is astounding British politicians find ways to make the country look like an asylum for Stone Age people with serious mental problems. I mean, even Chimpanzee politics are more sophisticated than this clueless Chain of gross stupidity. What has the UK done wrong to deserve this kind of monstrous dementors as their political representatives?

  • He is being Boris, playing to the gallery of the Conservative party hardliners and a media that laps up his twaddle. Considering a 1% hit in the economy is about £19 Billion pounds, a hard Brexit of No Deal and operating with WTO tariffs will result in a relative weakening of the UK to the rest of Europe by about £170 Billion pounds year upon year. That equates the grandstanding over £39 Billion to be worth about 3 months of the self inflicted damage he would have us do to ourselves. A trade deal with the US, which we are told is one of the great prizes of Brexit, would do little to correct this. Boris would not last one week in a job that required him to be honest about numbers!
    What a sad indictment upon the Conservative Party that would have Boris for Prime Minister, but would kick Lord Hesseltine and Dominic Grieve out of their party. I look forward to the day when it becomes unacceptable for MPS to play fast and loose with economic statistics and the truth in general.

  • As John Crace said about Trump: ‘His second language is English; his first is Bollocks’.
    The same applies to Johnson. The best debate I have seen on calling a second vote was in the Welsh Assembly. Some real sense spoken and the overwhelming arguments favoured a second referendum. The message that came from Welsh AMs should be repeated loud and clear and often to the whole of the UK.
    Another idiot is McVey. Now copying Raab and calling for the proroguing of Parliament to get a no deal. She is crazy and has an ego the size of a house to believe she is PM material.
    The other worrying news coming out of the Labour Party is that Thornberry is going to be marginalised and the knives are out for Tom Watson. I have lost any semblance of trust in Corbyn who looks to be under the thumb of some of the Trade Unions. How can any TU want Brexit which is going to cause huge damage to the economy?

  • Has this site ever actually dealt with a ‘fact’ in its life ?
    There is NO debt and no signed paper agreement to any such payment ! How’s that for a FACT .

  • As Tony Evans says, Boris is just being Boris and clowning about. He is attention seeking like Trump, saying anything that will get some headlines. Possibly he will contradict himself in due course, Trump-like.

  • The French government has now made it clear that Johnson’s threatened action would be regarded in law as a sovereign debt failure with severe consequences for the UK. How on earth can the Conservative Party elect as it’s leader someone determined to make our country an international pariah?

  • This is daft. How would anyone in business react if a potential partner wanted to complete a deal, but had just reneged on a previous financial commitment? Does Boris not realise that the EU is easily our most important market and we must have a deal? Does he still not understand that we have far more to lose from a no deal than the EU does? Or is it a case of what he said earlier in the year in his 2 word gesture to British business?

  • “We will be plunged into a political and economic crisis. In the ensuing chaos, it is quite likely we will be forced to go on bended knee and sue the EU for peace. Johnson will have inflicted a humiliation on our country like nothing we ever have witnessed.”

    And we will deserve every bit of that and what comes after, given the outcome of the referendum vote, the conduct of our government, and the inability of the country to realise what it has and what it is risking.

    Pride comes before a fall, and we are due. Few, if ever any countries have claimed such benevolence, and then acted with such caprice as we are doing now. People in Hong-Kong are worried about being extradited to China and have asked the UK for help in pressing their concerns to the Chinese. Fat chance, the UK has now nearly topped itself in the international arena. No country takes advice from others facing collapse and break-up due to their own belligerency.

    Donald Trump, and after him, corporate America will be telling us how high to jump, and we will have positively begged them to do it. Brexit means you’re a fool.

  • This thoroughly deceitful, dishonest and duplicitous character is a real and imminent danger to the country as a whole.