Published On: Mon, Aug 26th, 2019

Brexit News: Johnson reveals threat to block £39bn bill has led to cracks in EU unity | UK | News

Boris Johnson has revealed a major breakthrough in the Brexit talks, claiming that the “threat” to withhold the £39bn divorce bill was working. Speaking to ITV’s Robert Peston, the British Prime Minister said the “reality” that the EU would not recieve the £39bn payment was finally dawning on European leaders. Mr Johnson made the remarks during his visit to the G7 summit in Biarritz, where he has held talks with Donald Trump and the EU council president Donald Tusk.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly claimed that the UK would withhold most of the £39bn financial settlement agreed by his predecessor Theresa May if forced into a no-deal. 

Mr Johnson told Peston: “If we come out without an agreement it is certainly true that the £39bn is no longer, strictly speaking, owed.

“There will be very substantial sums available to our country to spend on our priorities. It’s not a threat. It’s a simple fact of reality.”

He later told Sky News that French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel “understood the reality of the £39bn bill”.

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Mr Johnson said: “What the entire EU understands is that if we come out without a deal, then the £39bn is not pledged.

“It has been made clear. Merkel and Macron understand that.”

He also claimed that there had been a dramatic “change of mood in the EU in the last few days” following his trips to Berlin and Paris. 

The Prime Minister claimed that the EU would be blamed for a no deal Brexit.

The British leader said: “I think we can get through this, this is a great, great country, the UK, we can easily cope with a no-deal scenario.”

EU sources have claimed that Mr Johnson’s no deal tactics have started to crack the EU unity.

Several member states have started to question whether the EU’s stance is too hardline.

Mr Johnson has urged the EU to ditch the Irish backstop before talks on a new deal can resume.

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