London, June 30 (IANS) British Prime Ministerial hopeful Jeremy Hunt has said that he would consider withholding some of the UK’s 39 billion pounds European Union (EU) “divorce bill” in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The Foreign Secretary told the Sunday Times he would not hand over “a penny more than is legally required of us”, reports the BBC.
On the issue of the UK’s “divorce bill”, Hunt told the Sunday Times that “anyone who thinks I am going to write a blank cheque to the European Union is sorely mistaken”.
“As a businessman I always paid my bills. That being said, if we leave without a deal I will not hand over a penny more than is legally required of us.”
Hunt’s remark comes after his rival, former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told Sky News on Saturday that he would “suspend” the money until the UK got a new deal.
He said he believed the EU would give ground to the UK as it had a “powerful incentive” to avoid a no-deal exit.
Johnson said the “drift and dither” of the past three years could not continue and he would take personal responsibility for “leading us out of this mess and getting Brexit done” by the revised deadline of October 31.
After outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May failed to get her Brexit deal through Parliament earlier this year, the date of the UK’s departure for the EU was moved to October 31, the BBC reported.
Asked whether he would be willing to suspend Parliament to force through a no-deal exit, Johnson told Sky News that he did not “like the idea” and was “not remotely attracted to it”.
Hunt and Johnson will participate in 15 hustings across the country as Conservative members decide on their party’s next leader – and the next UK prime minister.
The 160,000 members will begin voting next week and the winner is expected to be announced on July 23.