The Foreign Secretary has said the likelihood of the UK walking away from the European Union (EU) without a trade deal is “increasing” and there is a “real chance” of such a clean “No Deal” Brexit.
The comments come after the unelected president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, attacked Theresa May’s already extremely accommodating Chequers Brexit plan, making little effort to even engage with it.
Michel Barnier, the bloc’s top Brexit negotiator, has also savaged Mrs May’s widely unpopular plan, leading to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt hitting back Tuesday, promising the UK will play hardball, too.
He told the Evening Standard that Mr Barnier and the EU’s current approach risks inflicting a “breakdown in relations and trust between Britain and European countries” which would be a “profound geo-strategic mistake”.
He said: “The probability of no deal is increasing by the day until we see a change of approach from the European Commission who have this view that they just need to wait and Britain will blink.
“That is just a profound misunderstanding of us as a nation. There is a real chance of ‘No Deal’ by accident. Everyone is assuming, no, no, no, this will never happen. Well, actually, it could.
‘Fretful, Weak, Incompetent’: Rees-Mogg Blasts Gov For Failing to Prepare ‘No Deal’ Brexit https://t.co/MI8rV9ylEi
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 30, 2018
“France and Germany have to send a strong signal to the Commission that we need to negotiate a pragmatic and sensible outcome that protects jobs on both sides of the Channel because for every job lost in the UK, there will be jobs lost in Europe as well if Brexit goes wrong.”
Also on Tuesday, the British government threatened Brussels that if it maintains its hardliner approach on finance, around 7,000 Europe-based investment funds could lose access to the City of London.
Mr Hunt was in Paris on Tuesday to meet with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian (pictured above, right) and warned there would be “profound economic consequences for the rest of Europe” if his counterparts did not compromise.
“Probably the City, as the financier of European business, is the central point to make here. If it became harder for European businesses to access finance, that is far from trivial,” he said.
He also repeated the claims of Chancellor Phillip Hammond that the UK could slash taxes and take EU trade if they are not cooperative. He said: “The City itself would find a way to thrive, whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
“If it became a low-tax, low-regulation, offshoot fully outside the EU, it would find a way to thrive in those circumstances. But for European businesses, the impact would be profound.”
Tax cuts 😍😍😍 https://t.co/VPmpkQUwXC
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 26, 2017