Published On: Mon, Jun 10th, 2019

City fears that Boris will be BRITISH TRUMP after threatening EU over £39bn Brexit bill


The former Mayor of London and ex-Foreign Secretary used his first full interview of the Tory leadership campaign to promise Britain would keep hold of the massive ‘divorce deal’ sum demanded by the European Union until he got a better deal. Speaking to The Sunday Times, Mr Johnson said the money would be a “great lubricant” in getting EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier back to the negotiating table. He continued: “I think our friends and partners need to understand that the money is going to be retained until such time as we have greater clarity about the way forward. “I always thought it was extraordinary that we should agree to write that entire cheque before having a final deal.”

But his pledge to use the bill as leverage raised eyebrows in the City which feared Mr Johnson throwing his weight around in an un-statesmanlike manner meant he would become Donald Trump Mk2.

Worldpay chairman and former Confederation of British Industry president Sir Mike Rake told City AM: “We’ve seen what happens with countries who don’t pay their debts. These are legal agreements.

“Anyone who thinks negotiating by making threats in public a la Trump in a business world is the way to succeed is mistaken. Is this serious?”

Mr Johnson was also rebuffed by a source close to French President Emmanuel Macron, who said over the weekend that failing to pay the Brexit bill would amount to a sovereign debt default.

The source told Reuters: “Not honouring your payment obligations is a failure of international commitments equivalent to a sovereign debt default, whose consequences are well known.”

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson also claimed over the weekend that he will slash income tax for more than 3 million people by increasing the 40p rate threshold to £80,000, if he becomes Prime Minister.

The higher rate of income tax will be pushed up from £50,000 to £80,000, Mr Johnson said, pulling hundreds of thousands of people out of the 40p band entirely.

Mr Johnson said the new income tax threshold will help “stimulate” the economy as the UK leaves the EU.

Writing in The Telegraph he said: “We should be cutting corporation tax and other business taxes.

“We should be raising thresholds of income tax so that we help the huge numbers that have been captured in the higher rate by fiscal drag.

“We can go for much greater economic growth and still be the cleanest, greenest society on earth.”

Other Tory leadership contenders have made similar pledges to cut tax.

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has pledged to use the no deal “fiscal headroom” to slash corporation tax from the current level of 19 percent to just 12.5 percent, the same level as Ireland.

Despite criticism over his comments, Mr Johnson has been backed to take over from Theresa May by prominent Brexiteer Steve Baker.

He has also been endorsed by cabinet ministers James Brokenshire, Chris Grayling and Alun Cairns, and former international development secretary Priti Patel.

Tory MPs have until 5.00pm BST today to enter the race to become party leader and Prime Minister.



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