Top political stories right now
David Cameron has ruled out adhering to a demand for Britain to pay an extra £1.7bn towards the European Union budget by the start of December.
Speaking after a meeting of the European Council this afternoon, he said the charge was “not acceptable”.
“It is an appalling way to behave. I am not paying that bill on 1 December. If people think I am going to, they have got another thing coming. It is not going to happen.”
The Prime Minister said he was prepared to bring legal challenges to the proposal if necessary, describing it as an “unacceptable way to treat one of the biggest contributors to the European Union”.
Mr Cameron also revealed that he had first learned of the bill on Thursday, despite the Chancellor revealing he had been notified earlier this week.
New calculations of member states’ economic performance since 1995 mean France and Germany will receive rebates while Britain and the Netherlands are among those being asked to pay more.
Jose Manuel Barroso stressed that the UK’s figures came from its own independent statistics body and said the Government should have been prepared for the news.
“This should not have come as a surprise to the member states,” the European Commission president said.
“I understand the concerns that it has raised in London, but any person that wants to look with objectivity and honesty to the rules that were approved by member states has to accept that sometimes these decisions happen.”
Labour has questioned why the Prime Minister was unaware of the possibility of the demand, given it was based on estimates from the Office for National Statistics.
"Did the Government delay making news public about this expected revision to the UK's EU contribution because of fears about how it would play out for the Conservative Party?” Shadow Europe Minister Pat McFadden asked.
Nigel Farage predicted that the UK would be forced to pay the charge, describing Mr Cameron as “hopeless”.
The Ukip leader told Sky News: "What is he going to do? These are the rules, the contributions to the European Union was a very complex formula and part of it is a measurement of your GDP against everybody else’s. There’s nothing he can do."
On The Way Up
Today in Local and Regional
Today in Schools, education & training
Today in Party Politics & Reform
Today in Domestic Affairs
Today in Foreign affairs & defence
News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh
This morning's top ten must-reads
Today's Five at Five
Find out more about the professional political news service
Bits and bobs from the political day
Hand picked politics - Live
Twitter 18:20 | This EU demand for an extra £1.7 billion is beyond surreal. It's more than the total annual Foreign Office budget.
Blog 18:05 | Iraq and Syria are lost causes: Western intervention can’t help – or can it?Coffee House
Twitter 17:30 | This is outrageous!Mark Reckless
Twitter 17:13 | PM right to say no to ridiculous EU demand for more money due to UK economic success in last few years, success shd be rewarded not punished
Blog 16:58 | Is Canada’s foreign policy making the country any safer?Coffee House
Blog 16:52 | Labour shouldn’t offer cosmetic solutions for our education systemLabourList
Opinion 16:41 | Taxpayers money spent on childcare is not wasted its an investmentThe Guardian
Blog 16:16 | Scarily, there is a big market for revolutionary Russell Brand’s anti-capitalist idiocyCapX
Blog 16:11 | Commission silent as foundation for increased EU budget contributions remains unclearOpen Europe blog
Blog 15:56 | Iain Duncan Smith thinks he can cure disabled people as if by magicComment is Free
Latest opinion research and analysis
Most read around the web
Most read on PoliticsHome
Click to see todays front pages and political bits
The political diary