Jeremy Hunt slammed for refusing to commit to Britain leaving the EU by end of 2019 – The Sun
JEREMY HUNT faced a fresh Brexit backlash after refusing to commit to taking Britain out of the EU by the end of the year.
It came as the Foreign Secretary prepared to woo Tory members with his biggest Hard Brexit message yet – by unveiling £20billion plans to bail out business hit by a cliff edge exit if he became Prime Minister.
Challenged once more about Boris’ do or die pledge to deliver Brexit by October 31, Mr Hunt repeated that it would be wrong to “rip up” a deal by that time if it required a “few more parliamentary days” to complete.
But asked if he would commit to leaving by the end of the year, Mr Hunt ducked the question. He replied the best way of guaranteeing Britain leaves is to pick a PM who can “actually get us a deal that can get through Parliament.”
Boris supporters leapt on the comments – accusing Mr Hunt of “kicking the can down the road”. “Only Boris is committing to delivering Brexit on October 31,” one aide said.
Mr Hunt will dramatically step up his bid to close the gap on Boris by trying to prove how serious he is about delivering a No Deal if there is no “prospect” of an agreement with the EU.
He will vow to slash corporation tax to 12.5 per cent from 19 per cent overnight in a No Deal Budget – costing £13 billion. And he will pledge to spend £6 billion reimbursing tariffs faced by farmers and fishermen. Dairy products could face a 35 per cent duty in a No Deal.
Mr Hunt said: “If we could do it for the bankers in the financial crisis, we can do it for our fisherman, farmers and small businesses now.”
He also pledged to set up a COBRA-style emergency committee to prepare for a cliff edge exit. The former Remain voter insisted that he would be prepared to see Brits lose their job in a No Deal if it meant delivering on the result of the 2016 Referendum.
Challenged by the BBC’s Andrew Marr he said: “I would do it with a heavy heart. We are a country where politicians do what the people tell them to do.
“So if in order to do what the people tell us to do, we have to leave without a deal, I would do that. But I would find support for those companies to help them weather the storms.”
He separately confirmed moves to hire former Canadian PM Stephen Harper as part of his negotiating team to thrash out a trade deal with the EU.
Boris Johnson stuck to his end of October deadline.
The Sun Says
THE Tory leadership rivals are finally getting serious about preparing for Brexit.
Boris Johnson has, outwardly at least, adopted a tough negotiating stance in a sign to Brussels that talks are over if they don’t play ball.
And Jeremy Hunt rightly promises extra cash for farmers, fishermen and the small firms which could take a hit if we end up in a No Deal scenario.
But his problem is that no one really believes he would deliver No Deal. Mr Hunt won’t even commit to taking us out by the end of the YEAR, let alone honouring the October 31 deadline.
And while it’s good to see more No Deal funding on offer, both candidates should be wary of rash spending promises they might not be able to pay for.
Until Brexit’s sorted out once and for all, the new PM must keep the safety-first approach which has brought our debt under control in recent years.
With Labour gagging to turn on the spending taps, even if it bankrupts Britain, the Tories need to show they’re still the party of financial prudence.
That’s the best way to keep the UK fighting fit for our future outside the EU.
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And he said he felt a “personal responsibility” for delivering Brexit after his high profile campaign to Leave. “I played a part in that campaign. I take personal responsibility now for what is happening to our country, for the drift and the dither and the indecision, and the failure to be sufficiently robust in the negotiations which we’ve seen so far.
“I want to lead us out of this mess.”
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