Boris Johnson has said that if he is Britain’s next prime minister he will not pay the 40 billion euros Theresa May has agreed as the bill for leaving the European Union unless Brussels offer improved terms on Brexit.
In an interview in the Sunday Times newspaper Johnson said the funds would be retained until Britain got more clarity, describing money as “a great lubricant” when negotiating a deal.
His comments has reported provoked an angry reaction in France. According to Reuters, a source close to France President Emmanuel Macron said the UK failing to pay its Brexit bill would be the equivalent of a sovereign debt default.
Meanwhile Johnson’s leadership rival Michael Gove said he would be prepared to ask for an extension on the October 31st deadline currently in place for Britain to leave the European Union.
''My view is we should leave before October 31st, but if we need a few extra days or weeks in order to dot the i's and cross the t's to get us out of the European Union, that is the right thing.''
Interior minister Sajid Javid, another of the eleven candidates to succeed May, said he might be prepared to oversee a no-deal Brexit, rather than miss the deadline but only as a last resort.
"I will do everything in our power to left on October 31st, and that does mean for me, of course I want a deal", he said.
"I will do everything I can to have a deal, but if I have to choose between no deal and no Brexit, I would pick no deal."
Conservative MPs will begin voting on their choice for a new leader next Thursday with the top two candidates going to a vote of the party membership in July.