Jeremy Hunt insists the UK will ‘flourish and prosper’ even without a Brexit deal as he says he would like a ‘crack’ at Prime Minister
- The foreign secretary’s Brexit comments are likely to heighten cabinet tensions
- Amber Rudd has warned about the impact of failing to secure an agreement
- She is one of those in the running to succeed the PM, including Boris Johnson
- Mr Hunt’s comments come as the PM said she’d step down before 2022 election
Jeremy Hunt has insisted the UK will ‘flourish and prosper’ even without a Brexit deal as he says he would also like a ‘crack’ at being Prime Minister.
His comments come after Mrs May made it clear she would step down before the scheduled 2022 general election as she fought off a vote of no confidence last week.
The foreign secretary’s Brexit comments are likely to heighten cabinet tensions including with Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd who has warned about the impact of failing to secure an agreement.
Jeremy Hunt (pictured) has said that even in a no-deal situation Britain would find a way to ‘flourish and prosper’ claiming that we’ve faced far bigger challenges in history
Mrs May (pictured in Brussels on Friday at a European summit) made it clear she would step down before the scheduled 2022 general election as she fought off a vote of no confidence last week
Mr Hunt told 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.
‘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.’
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But just yesterday Ms Rudd called for Tory MPs to reach across the aisle if necessary to avoid the country ‘crashing onto the rocks’ under a No Deal outcome.
She said that while she expects to be accused of ‘treachery’ from some quarters, she is unsure the Prime Minister’s deal will ever enjoy sufficient support from Conservative MPs to get through a deeply divided Parliament.
Mr Hunt was also asked by The Sunday Telegraph whether he would like to become PM, responding with: ‘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.’
Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has warned about the impact of failing to secure an agreement
Among those in contention for the top job should Theresa May follow through with her promise to resign are Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Amber Rudd.
But a Daily Mail Survation poll conducted on Wednesday found that Home Secretary Sajid Javid is favourite with the Tory faithful to succeed Theresa May, with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in second place – and Boris Johnson well down the field.
According to the survey of Conservative councillors, Home Secretary Mr Javid is the Party’s first choice to replace Mrs May.
He is followed by Mr Hunt and former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.
Surprisingly, Mr Johnson, Mrs May’s most prominent critic, trails in seventh place.
By contrast, Environment Michael Gove, who sabotaged fellow Brexiteer Johnson’s 2016 leadership challenge in 2016, but has stayed loyal to Mrs May, is one place ahead of Johnson.
Boris Johnson is one of those in contention for the top job, should Mrs May resign from the post before the next scheduled general election. He is pictured here leaving the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday
A Daily Mail Survation poll conducted on Wednesday found that Home Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured on Wednesday) is favourite with the Tory faithful to succeed Theresa May
Mr Hunt’s Brexit comments come days after Ms Rudd called for a cross party consensus on EU withdrawal after saying that Brexit ‘is in danger of getting stuck’.
She said people should ‘ignore siren voices calling us to the rocks of no deal’.
As Brexit continued to dominate politics, Mrs May launched a stinging attack on Labour former prime minister Tony Blair for ‘undermining’ EU withdrawal negotiations by calling for a People’s Vote.
The PM said: ‘For Tony Blair to go to Brussels and seek to undermine our negotiations by advocating for a second referendum is an insult to the office he once held and the people he once served.
‘We cannot, as he would, abdicate responsibility for this decision.
‘Parliament has a democratic duty to deliver what the British people voted for.’
Tony Blair (pictured today making a People’s Vote speech) insisted there must be a second referendum on Brexit because of the ‘crisis’ over Theresa May’s deal
The outspoken attack on Mr Blair came amid reports two of the Prime Minister’s most senior allies are making preparations for a possible referendum on the final terms of the deal.
Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, Mrs May’s defacto deputy, has met Labour MPs to discuss a cross-party consensus on the idea of a new vote, according to the Sunday Times.
The newspaper also claimed that Mrs May’s chief of staff, Gavin Barwell was supportive of the idea.
A particularly bruising week for the PM saw her appeals for the EU to be more flexible on backstop proposals for the Irish border to be largely rebuffed at a summit of European leaders.
The backstop, aimed at preventing the return of a hard border in Ireland, would see the UK remain under EU customs rules if no wider trade agreement had been struck by the end of an implementation period.
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