A furious David Cameron has refused to pay a £1.7bn EU bill by December as he hit out at the “unacceptable” and “unjustifed” request.
The Prime Minister said an EU demand that the UK hand over a 20% surcharge was like being coshed with a piece of lead piping.
A clearly angry Mr Cameron told a press conference yesterday he would not be meeting the December 1 deadline, saying he has called for emergency talks on the budget request.
EU officials make adjustments to the amount each country contributes on a regular basis. While some countries whose economies performed better than expected, are asked to pay more others will get a rebate.
France is expecting one billion euros (£800m) and Germany 779 million (£614m) to be handed back as a result.
Mr Cameron insisted that he had not heard about the bill until Thursday, as he prepared for a two-day summit on which it did not even feature on the agenda.
Aides said the Treasury had received brief details from the European Commission a few days earlier.
Dismissing questions over how soon the Treasury had known as a “red herring”, he told reporters: “You can all do ‘Who knew what when?’ and all the rest of it but actually, frankly, you don’t need a Cluedo set to know that someone has been clubbed with the lead piping in the library.”
He added: “It is an unacceptable way for this organisation to work - to suddenly present a bill like this for such a vast sum of money with so little time to pay it.
“And it is an unacceptable way to treat one of the biggest contributors to the European Union. I am not paying that bill on December 1. If people think I am they have got another think coming.”