Boris Johnson has told the BBC that Britain should reject any EU demands for a £50bn exit bill and follow the example of former PM Margaret Thatcher. It has been reported that EU negotiator Michel Barnier has said the UK must continue to pay into the EU until 2020.
Mr Johnson said it was not reasonable for the UK to continue to make vast budget payments once it left the EU and cited Mrs. Thatcher's success at the 1984 Fontainebleau Summit, when she threatened to halt payments to the EU.
I think we have illustrious precedent in this matter, and you will doubtless recall the 1984 Fontainebleau Summit in which Mrs. Thatcher said she wanted her money back, and I think that is exactly what we will get, he told BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg in BBC Two's Brexit: Britain's Biggest Deal.
It is not reasonable, I don't think, for the UK having left the EU to continue to make vast budget payments, I think everybody understands that and that's the reality.
The UK won the rebate in 1984, after then prime minister Margaret Thatcher threatened to halt payments to the EU budget. At the time the UK was then the third poorest member of the Community but was on course to become the biggest net contributor to the EU budget.
Asked about Mr. Johnson's comments, Mrs. May said there was only ever one Margaret Thatcher and insisted the British people did not vote for Brexit to keep paying huge sums into the EU budget.
The Daily Telegraph has reported that Mr Barnier raised the idea that the UK may have to pay 60bn Euros (£52bn) to cover the UK's share of outstanding pension liabilities, loan guarantees and spending on UK-based projects until 2020 - even if it leaves the EU by 2019.
Irish premier Enda Kenny suggested he may back demands for the UK to pay a divorce bill when it leaves the EU, telling reporters at the summit on Thursday: ”When you sign on for a contract, you commit yourself to participation.