Jeremy Hunt: Britain would ‘flourish and prosper’ after no-deal Brexit
Britain will “flourish and prosper” after Brexit even if the country quits the European Union without a deal, Jeremy Hunt has said.
The Foreign Secretary accepted that while there would be “disruption” as a result of walking away from an agreement, the UK had faced “much bigger challenges” in the past.
Mr Hunt also said he would like to "have a crack" at being Prime Minister, after Theresa May announced she would quit before the 2022 election.
His intervention came as the PM fought to win concessions on her Brexit deal from Brussels, in a desperate bid to clinch an agreement her MPs will support in the Commons.
EU leaders have said negotiations could not be re-opened, sparking fresh fears about a possible no-deal departure.
But Mr Hunt said, in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph: “I’ve always thought that even in a no-deal situation this is a great country, we’ll find a way to flourish and prosper
"We’ve faced much bigger challenges in our history.”
He added: “But we shouldn’t pretend that there wouldn’t be disruption, there wouldn’t be risk, and there wouldn’t be impact and that’s why as a responsible government we have to make all the preparations necessary.”
But anti-Brexit MP Virendra Sharma, speaking on behalf of the Best for Britain campaign, blasted Mr Hunt.
"This is a desperate attempt by Jeremy Hunt to try and win favour with the Brexiteer wing of his party. It just won't work, everyone remembers how in 2016 he argued for a second Brexit vote," he said.
"He might think these words make him sound strong - but he just looks two faced. No deal Brexit as an idea is dead. He just stop trying to resuscitate it for his own political career."
The comments by Mr Hunt also put him at odds with Cabinet colleague Amber Rudd, who this week said a no-deal Brexit must not "be allowed to happen".
'HAVE A CRACK' AT BEING PM
Elsewhere, Mr Hunt joined the Tory leadership jostling after Mrs May confirmed she would step down before the planned 2022 general election - a move which may have clinched her victory in a no-confidence vote last week.
He said every MP would like to try their hand at the job, but insisted Mrs May was the right person to lead the country through the “challenging next few months”.
Asked whether he was interested in moving into Number 10, he said: “I think every MP has a corner of their heart that says they would like to have a crack at the top job. I’m no different.
“But I think the first thing is to get us through this challenging next few months and I passionately believe Theresa May is the right person to do that.”