Brussels could end up having to pay UK a Brexit “divorce” bill because the Britain has contributed to so many EU assets, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said.

In his first major interview of the election campaign, the Foreign Secretary told The Daily Telegraph on Friday that there were “very good arguments” to why Britain should demand money back, adding the European Union leaders were “trying it on”.

He said Britain could leave the EU without paying a penny if there was no Brexit deal, and compared warnings about a “no deal” Brexit.

Accusing the EU of “trying it on”, he said: “They are going to try to bleed this country white with their bill.

“The logic behind this bill is absolutely preposterous. We could definitely walk away.”

He also said there is a “realistic possibility” of Vladimir Putin trying to sabotage the general election, adding that the Russian president would “rejoice” if opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn won on June 8.

“I think it is a realistic possibility. Clearly we think that is what he (Putin) did in America, it’s blatantly obvious that’s what he did in France. In the western Balkans he is up to all sorts of sordid enterprises, so we have to be vigilant,” Johnson told The Daily Telegraph.

He also suggested that Putin’s motive was “to undermine faith in democracy altogether and to discredit the whole democratic process”.

Johnson added that the “shameful” leaking of details of a Downing Street meeting between Prime Minister Theresa May, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier showed “Brussels is ruthless in its negotiating techniques”.

First Published | 13 May 2017 10:06 AM
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