Business Secretary Greg Clark warns ‘thousands of jobs’ would be lost under no-deal Brexit
Greg Clark has warned Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt that “many thousands” of jobs will be lost if Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal.
The Business Secretary said it was “hugely important” for Theresa May’s successor to strike an agreement with Brussels and that ministers have a “responsibility to protect people's livelihoods”.
Mr Johnson, the frontrunner in the race, has committed to taking the UK out of the European Union “no ifs, no buts” by the 31 October.
Meanwhile Mr Hunt has said that he will ramp up preparations to leave without a deal on the autumn deadline if there is no sign of a breakthrough by the beginning of October.
But Mr Clark, when asked how many jobs could be lost under the scenario, told Sky News: “It’s many thousands of jobs. Everyone knows that”.
“I think that every person who considers the evidence that companies have given, whether it's in the automotive sector, whether it's in the food sector, whether it's in aerospace, whether it's in industries up and down the country.
“You know if you become less efficient and your ability to trade is impeded then of course losing your competitiveness means that there will be jobs that will be lost.”
Mr Johnson has said that any minister working under him “must be reconciled” to leaving the EU on October 31, with or without a deal.
Mr Hunt echoed his comments days later, when he insisted that anyone in his Cabinet had to "accept the possibility of no-deal".
Mr Clark, who has been a major critic of a no-deal exit, insisted he was not prepared to shift on his views in light of the leadership hopefuls’ comments.
"I have always been consistent that we need to leave with a deal," he added.
"I am not going to trim and chop and change my views given that they are based on the evidence that men and women up and down this country running businesses, working in businesses, have made it crystal clear to me what that means and I will always represent them.
The Business Secretary has previously warned that crashing out would be a “disaster” for businesses, and blamed the prospect of it for Nissan’s decision to quit Sunderland for Japan.
In his latest interview, Mr Clark added: “In talking to businesses one of the things that most strikes me talking to men and women on the shop floor, working on production lines, their incomes and their livelihoods and those of their families depends on [a deal].
“Everyone accepts this is a very difficult challenge. When the country voted to leave the EU of course there is a requirement to implement that but I think we need to do it in a way that takes full account of the impact on real people's lives and do everything we can to ensure it doesn't visit harm on them.”