UK would regret no deal Brexit 'for generations', Jeremy Hunt warns
The Foreign Secretary hinted that the UK could make concessions in order to reach agreement and avoid a "messy" divorce
Jeremy Hunt - Image credit: Press Association
Britain would regret crashing out of the European Union without a deal “for generations”, Jeremy Hunt has said.
The Foreign Secretary was speaking during a visit to the Netherlands, where he hinted that the UK could make concessions in order to reach agreement with the bloc and avoid a "messy" divorce.
Hunt told ITV News that a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be a "huge geo-strategic mistake", but also insisted that whatever the outcome of talks Britain would still "find a way to prosper and thrive.”
He said: “In terms of everything else that happens on the world stage and it would be a mistake that we would regret for generations if we were to have a messy ugly divorce and that’s what we all want to avoid."
Asked if the UK would be prepared to compromise its negotiating stance by retaining European environmental and social legislation, Hunt replied: "We totally understand the need to have a level playing field in any free trade agreement
"I think we have to see what their proposal was, some of those things can have an impact on the level playing field some won't.”
Jeremy Hunt’s intervention has already sparked a backlash, however, with Tory MP and Brexiteer Conor Burns branding the apparent drive to reach a Brexit deal at all costs "barmy".
He said: "The thing that we want to avoid for 'generations to come' is being locked into a permanent orbit around the EU where we end up with a deal but don't have a seat around the table.
"Many of us still believe what we have been defending for the last two years, which is the Prime Minister's line that no deal is better than a bad deal. It's nothing to be afraid of.
"They seem to be prepared to sell the reservation in the long-term to avoid disruption in the short term. It's barmy."
The warning from the Foreign Secretary came as his Cabinet colleague Greg Clark told European ministers that a ‘no deal’ scenario would inflict economic damage on families right across Europe.
Speaking after a series of meetings with his European counterparts, the Business Secretary said: "My discussions across Europe have demonstrated how clearly it is in everyone’s interest that an agreement is reached quickly and ‘no deal’ is avoided.
"The Commission has a responsibility to all the people of Europe to respond positively and constructively.
"If not, the impact on our continent’s businesses, economies and millions of families across the UK and EU will be significant and lasting."
European leaders warn the next PM they will not shift position on Brexit, as Ursula von der Leyen is nominated new European Commission chief
With 16 FDI projects based in the digital sector north of the border, EY rated Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen in the top ten UK cities outside of London for attracting investment
In a clear reference to the risk of Boris Johnson becoming prime minister, the Chancellor said there was a "real risk" of a new leader "abandoning" efforts to leave the EU with a deal
Iceland’s prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, will meet the First Minister at Bute House as part of a two-day visit to Scotland
Vodafone today announced the commencement of trials of the world’s first air traffic control drone tracking and safety technology.
Vodafone explores some of the ways IoT is significantly improving public sector service delivery