Former London Mayor Boris Johnson, favorite in the race to succeed Theresa May as British Prime Minister, suggested today that if he becomes head of government he will not pay the exit bill agreed with the European Union (EU) until Brussels grants better conditions to the United Kingdom.
"I think our friends and partners must understand that money is going to be retained until there is more clarity on the way forward," Johnson told The Sunday Times, in the first interview he has given since announcing his candidacy to lead the Conservative Party.
To achieve a "good agreement", "money is a great lubricant", added the politician 'Tory', who warns at the same time that the UK must prepare for the possibility of leaving the EU without a pact the next October 31, the deadline set by Brussels to ratify the agreed terms of exit.
The 'Brexit' bill is the amount that the British Government has committed to pay once it leaves the EU in terms of acquired responsibilities, including the pensions of British officials who have worked in the EU block.
London and Brussels estimated in December that amount amounts to about 39,000 million pounds (43,000 million euros).
Johnson starts with an advantage in the process of the conservative primaries that will officially start on Monday, whose winner will inherit the dispatch of number 10 of Downing Street at the end of July.
"I feel a real personal responsibility, because I helped that result in the referendum (of the 'brexit') and every day I think about what we should do to get the best out of these opportunities," said Johnson.
The former mayor is the preferred candidate for 43% of the conservative affiliates, while his closest rival is the Environment Minister, Michael Gove, who would get 12% of the support of the militants, according to a survey published by the influential ConservativeHome page .
The candidacy of Gove has been surrounded by controversy this weekend, after the media has said that he used cocaine several times twenty years ago.
The Minister of Environment admitted that he did it when he was "a young journalist" and acknowledged that it was "an error". "I do not think the mistakes of the past will disqualify you," he said.
The foreign minister, Jeremy Hunt, is another of the candidates that according to polls could reach the final round of the conservative primaries, when the members of the formation will vote between the two candidates with more support among the deputies «Tories».
(tagsToTranslate) johnson (t) defends (t) pay (t) invoice (t) brexit (t) concessions