Boris Johnson contradicts Theresa May over "no deal" claims, says EU can "go whistle" for "extortionate" Brexit divorce bill

Catherine Neilan
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"Go whistle is an entirely appropriate expression" (Source: Getty)

Boris Johnson has directly contradicted Number 10 over whether there is a genuine plan in place for there to be no deal on Brexit.

The foreign secretary deflected a question from Emily Thornberry about the government's contingency plans, saying: "There is no plan for a 'no deal' because we are going to get a great deal."

During the election campaign, Theresa May repeatedly said that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, while Brexit secretary David Davis told The Andrew Marr Show back in March that government had been preparing for "all the various outcomes".

Asked if that included a no deal scenario, he said: “Oh yes, oh yes.”

Johnson today also said the European Union can "go whistle" if it expects the UK to pay for what he described as an "extortionate" divorce bill.

Philip Hollobone, a Tory Eurosceptic MP, teed up the foreign secretary by asking: “Since we joined the common market on January 1 1973 until the day we leave, we will have given the EU and its predecessors, in today’s money, in real terms, a total of £209bn.

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

Johnson replied: “I’m sure that your words will have broken like a thunderclap over Brussels and they will pay attention to what you have said.

“He makes a very valid point and I think that the sums that I have seen that they propose to demand from this country seem to me to be extortionate and I think ‘to go whistle’ is an entirely appropriate expression.”

Reports have suggested the bill for leaving the EU - which will include contributing towards the ongoing budget, liabilities for loans to other member states, pension contributions and other costs - could be as much as £84bn.

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