In Brief

Jeremy Hunt would tell small businesses no-deal Brexit was worth it

Tory leadership hopeful says he would look owners of businesses that went bust in the eye

Jeremy Hunt says he would tell businesses that went bust because of a no-deal Brexit under his leadership that their sacrifice was worth it.

Appearing on the BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, the Tory leadership hopeful said: “At the beginning of October, if there is no prospect of a deal that can get through parliament, then I will leave at the end of October because that is our democratic promise to the British people.”

Marr asked the Foreign Secretary whether he would be willing to look the owners of family businesses in the eye and say they should be prepared to see their companies go bust to ensure a no-deal Brexit. Hunt replied: “I would do so but I’d do it with a heavy heart precisely because of the risks.”

Asked how he would justify this position to such small business owners, Hunt said he would tell them that a no-deal Brexit was necessary to maintain the UK’s image abroad as “a country where politicians do what the people tell them to do”.

He added: “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.”

The Guardian says Hunt has “faced criticism from Boris Johnson” over his position that if a deal was very close by 31 October he might briefly extend the deadline to see it through.

It was perhaps with an eye on this very criticism that Hunt tried to position himself as the fastest route to Brexit yesterday. He told Marr: “I believe we will leave sooner with me than with Boris or anyone else because I am the person most likely to negotiate a deal. And that is the quickest way to leave.”

The 160,000 Conservative Party members will begin voting next week and Theresa May's successor is expected to be revealed on 23 July.

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