Why we shouldn’t pay a PENNY: EU is in debt and wants BRITAIN to pay it off, Hague warns

Why we shouldn’t pay a PENNY: EU is in debt and wants BRITAIN to pay it off, Hague warns

THE EUROPEAN Union has racked up huge debts and wants the UK to pay for it, William Hague has warned.

The former Tory leader said the reason Brussels was pushing for a large Brexit bill was because “they need it”.

He said the EU had got ahead of itself with budget commitments and project payments and now need the UK to pay a hefty divorce bill to help pay off debts.

Mr Hague compared the bloc to an “overbooked airline”, relying on people not turning up to prevent chaos.

He wrote in the Telegraph: “The main reason they want a big pile of cash from us is because they need it, having in effect run up a vast debt on behalf of British people and everyone else in the EU.

“The less charitable way of putting it is that the EU is like a giant overbooked airline, hoping that not everyone turns up at the same time for what they have been promised.”

He said the European Commission is short of “something like €250billion (£223bn)” and desperately in need in cash.

Mr Hague warned Westminster the EU was actually in a better position to demand payments than the UK was to reject.

He said: “The EU might not be a good advertisement for how to run your finances, but it is understandable that when someone is leaving it wants a share of these accumulated debts.

“The reason this matters is because psychologically and politically it is easier to pay a debt, even if someone ran it up on your behalf, than to bow to a ransom demand.

“In addition, it is quite obvious that making some contribution to these amounts is an inevitable part of coming to any agreement about future trade and relations.”

But he said the UK should not pay “a single penny” unless a satisfactory Brexit deal is signed with the EU.

He said there were still “thousands” of issues to “haggle over” and urged Theresa May and her Brexit team to hold her nerve during negotiations.

He concluded: “Any such payment should be dependent on a final deal being signed, sealed and ratified – without that the UK should not pay a single penny.

“That way, the UK retains some leverage right to the end.”