Matt Hancock tears into Tory leadership rival Boris Johnson over Brexit 'f**k business' comment

Posted On: 
29th May 2019

Matt Hancock has blasted Tory leadership rival Boris Johnson over claims he dismissed warnings about the economic impact of Brexit by saying "f**k business".

The Health Secretary has made a sweary business intervention of his own.
Credit: 
PA

Mr Johnson - then the Foreign Secretary - was said to have uttered the remark last year in response to concerns about a hard Brexit from global manufacturing giant Airbus.

But Mr Hancock told the Financial Times that the Conservatives should be "backing business not bashing business" as he said: "To the people who say ‘f**k business’, I say ‘f**k, f**k business’."

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The comments came as Mr Hancock questioned whether any new Conservative Prime Minister could push for a no-deal Brexit in the teeth of fierce opposition in the House of Commons.

In remarks that will be seen as a further dig at Mr Johnson as well as fellow Tory leadership rivals Dominic Raab, Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey, the Health Secretary said leaving the EU without a deal was "not a policy choice available to the next Prime Minister".

"I think the Speaker would facilitate a majority in the House of Commons who are opposed to no deal in exactly the same way as he did in the run-up to the 29 March," he warned.

JAVID POLICE VOW

Mr Hancock's dig at his Tory leadership rivals came as Home Secretary Sajid Javid - also in the running for the top job - took a swipe at Theresa May with a pledge to put thousands more police officers on the streets if he wins the Tory race.

The Prime Minister said earlier this year that there was "no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers", amid a surge in knife offences.

But, in an article for The Sun, Mr Javid vowed to recruit 20,000 extra police officers and said it was "obvious" that there was a link between police numbers and crime levels.

"More police on the beat means less crime on our streets," he said. "Not exactly rocket science is it?

"But what’s obvious to Sun readers in towns and cities across the country is not quite as clear cut in the rarefied corridors of Westminster and Whitehall - and it’s time for that to change."

Mr Hancock meanwhile attempted to woo the Conservative faithful by spelling out plans for a £5bn economic stimulus package, promising to ease the Government's deficit reduction plans to fund a string of tax breaks help new businesses and technology start-ups.

"There is a huge amount of pent up investment, and in a way, the economy is on pause, and I want to press the play button," he said.