British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says the European Union can “go whistle” if it thinks it can demand an “extortionate” payment from the U.K. to leave the bloc.

The EU says Britain has to pay a bill to cover pension liabilities for EU staff and other commitments the U.K. has agreed to. The bloc says major progress must be made on settling the bill before negotiations can start on the U.K.’s future relationship with the EU.

Estimates of the amount have ranged up to 100 billion euros ($114 billion).

Johnson said Tuesday that “the sums that I have seen that they propose to demand from this country seem to me to be extortionate.”

He told lawmakers in the House of Commons: “I think ‘go whistle’ is an entirely appropriate expression.”


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