The Independent: A no-deal Brexit would be a 'mistake we would regret for generations', says Jeremy Hunt17 August 2018 | 04:44 | FOCUS News Agency
The foreign secretary said a no-deal Brexit would “inevitably change British attitudes towards Europe”, just a day after Latvia’s foreign minister claimed the scenario stood a 50:50 chance of coming to pass.
The British Medical Association also warned leaving the bloc without a deal would be a “catastrophe” for the NHS.
Mr Hunt’s comments came in an interview with ITV News after a meeting with the Dutch foreign minister as part of a three-day tour of northern Europe.
When asked whether he was presenting the government’s Brexit plan as “take it or leave it”, Mr Hunt answered: “No, but it is a framework on which I believe the ultimate deal will be based and I’ve been to several countries and met seven foreign ministers and am meeting more in the weeks ahead.
“I’m getting a strong sense that not just in Holland but in many of the places I’ve visited that they do want to engage seriously to try and find a way through to try and get a pragmatic outcome.”
Mr Hunt also revealed that the government would consider EU proposals that demanded accepting European environmental and social legislation, in order to facilitate a free trade agreement.
He said: “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.”
Discussing the risk of no proper negotiated deal he said: “It would be a mistake we would regret for generations, if we had a messy, ugly divorce and would inevitably change British attitudes towards Europe.”
Asked to compare himself with Boris Johnson’s approach as foreign secretary, he said: “I think the role of the foreign secretary is to go around foreign capitals and point out the implications of not getting a deal are profound in terms of our friendship and corporation with foreign countries across a whole range of areas.”
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