WATCH Jeremy Hunt blasts Airbus over 'inappropriate' Brexit warnings that could end in 'disaster'
A top Cabinet minister has blasted global giant Airbus and its allies for making “inappropriate” warnings over Brexit.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt slammed the firm, and other companies which have spoken out, for making “threats” and “undermining” the Government negotiations with Brussels.
Earlier this week, the aviation and defence company said it could move abroad due to the uncertainty around trading arrangements after the UK quits the EU.
Its sounding of the alarm was matched by car manufacturer BMW, which said it would have to begin implementing contingency plans if clarity does not come soon.
And the leaders of five major business lobby groups joined forces today to warn the Prime Minister that “time is running out” for firms who want security for the future.
But Mr Hunt pushed back against the “siren voices” this morning, and insisted the cries of panic could lead the country towards “absolute disaster”.
“It’s completely inappropriate for businesses to be making these kinds of threats,” the Health Secretary told the BBC Andrew Marr show this morning.
“We are in an absolutely critical moment in the Brexit discussions and what that means is that we need to get behind Theresa May to deliver the best possible Brexit: a clean Brexit."
He argued firms wanted "clarity and certainty", and he added: "The more we undermine Theresa May, the more likely we are to end up with a fudge, which would be an absolute disaster for everyone.”
Elsewhere, Mr Hunt admitted there would not be “very much” of the so-called ‘Brexit dividend’ in the first period once the UK quits the EU, as it will be paying huge sums in a divorce settlement.
The Government has been slammed over the last week after it promised cash no longer under the control of Brussels would go towards a £20bn annual boost for the NHS.
Mr Hunt was left red-faced during his interview, when he was confronted with his previous comments about how any slight dip in the economy after Brexit would kill off any hoped-for dividend.
But he was unable to spell out where the taxation to make up shortfalls in the 3.4% a year NHS injection would come from.
He left the door open to hikes in VAT and to breaking the Tory manifesto pledge to continue cuts to corporation tax.