Sat, 15 June 2024

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Jeremy Hunt: I would choose no-deal over no Brexit

3 min read

Jeremy Hunt has said he would rather the UK left the European Union without a deal than stay in the bloc.

The Foreign Secretary, who voted Remain in the referendum, said he wanted a "clean" Brexit in order to deliver on the result of the 2016 vote.

Mr Hunt also said "wait and see" when asked whether he would throw his hat into the ring to be Tory leader when Theresa May stands down.

Speaking at a lunch in Westminster, Mr Hunt said other countries worry that the "Brexit paralysis" will prevent the UK from playing its role on the world stage.

He said: "As far as Brexit is concerned, my view is very straightforward: we have to leave, we have to leave quickly, we have to leave cleanly.

"I see Brexit as the biggest democratic challenge that we've had in our lifetimes because the political establishment, myself included, didn't want Brexit or vote for Brexit.

"We've always been telling people that we are one of the oldest and greatest democracies in the world and it's as if people have been looking at us and saying we will test that by asking you guys to do something that you don't want to do.

"It's absolutely essential that we pass that test and then we make a success of Brexit at the other side."

He added: "If there was a binary choice between no-deal or no Brexit I would choose no-deal because I think the democratic risk of no Brexit ultimately is higher than the economic risk of no-deal.

"But the reality is that this Parliament will not allow no-deal and I personally don't think we should go back to the country and try and get a different Parliament until we have left the European Union because that is what we promised voters we would do at the last election and that is what they are absolutely expecting us to do.

"I would always prefer to leave with a deal because I think there would be disruption without a deal, and it's very difficult to predict what that disruption would be. I think it would potentially would be very significant and I think that is something anyone sensible would wish to avoid. But I've never thought that in the end we couldn't make a success as a country of whatever circumstances we had to face."


Mr Hunt also said he thought it was "utterly appalling" that details of this week's meeting of the National Security Council - which he is a member of - were leaked.

Theresa May told the meeting that she planned to give Chinese firm Huawei a "non-core" role in the development of the UK's 5G network.

PoliticsHome revealed that Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill has launched a leak inquiry into the row.

Mr Hunt said: "I have never leaked confidential Cabinet documents and I never will, but I do think it is a very, very bad day for our democracy when that happens."

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