Are you a webmaster? Find out how to easily add Textise to your web site.


This page has been Textised!
The original page address was https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/16/dominic-raab-tories-are-toast-if-they-miss-brexit-october-deadline?share=1

Skip to main content
Boris Johnson's plan means no-deal Brexit or election, says Jeremy Hunt
Foreign secretary says it is wrong to commit rigidly to leaving the EU by 31 October

  Political editor

Sun 16 Jun 2019 15.44 BST  First published on Sun 16 Jun 2019 10.59 BST 

[Image: Jeremy Hunt]  
 
  Jeremy Hunt said his discussions with EU leaders had convinced him there could be a negotiated way through the impasse. Photograph: Reuters
Jeremy Hunt has said the Brexit deadline of 31 October should not be a “hard stop” and that Boris Johnson is posing a “stark choice”, between leaving the EU without a deal and a general election.

As the five remaining rivals to Boris Johnson prepare for a televised debate on Sunday evening, Hunt warned it would be wrong to commit now to leave the EU by Halloween, come what may.

He told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “I want to make an argument that what Boris is offering – a hard stop at any cost, on 31 October – means that he is effectively committing the country to no deal … or an election, if parliament chooses to stop that. And my argument is, are those really the best that we as Conservatives can offer the country?”

Hunt’s comments contrasted with a fresh warning from his fellow leadership contender Dominic Raab on Sunday that the Tory party would be “toast” if it failed to take Britain out of the EU by the end of October.

Play Video  
0:43
  'Tory party will be toast' unless Britain leaves EU in October, says Dominic Raab – video
Hunt said he wanted to negotiate a new package with the EU27. “It’s not impossible to do this by 31 October, but it will be difficult,” he said. “I’m not committing to a 31 October hard stop at any cost, because I don’t think you can make that guarantee.”

Hunt said recent discussions with EU leaders, in his post as foreign secretary, had convinced him there could be a negotiated way through the Brexit impasse.

“Approached by a British PM, someone they were willing to deal with, who had ideas to solve the Irish border, they would be willing to renegotiate the package,” he said.

“In particular, they’re prepared to consider whether you could get much more detail over the future relationship, so that you wouldn’t need the backstop.”

Earlier, Raab had highlighted the risks of “corrosion of public trust” for his party, with the Brexit party leading in several polls.

“The Tory party will be toast unless we’re out by the end of October. People need to wake up to this. We’ve seen from the Peterborough byelection, we’ve seen it from the European elections,” he said, referring to “the frustration, the scandal people feel” over the delays to Brexit.

“The Conservatives cannot win an election unless we’ve delivered Brexit,” he added, speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sky News.

Raab also again declined to rule out proroguing parliament, if as prime minister he believed a no-deal Brexit was the right course and MPs sought to block it.

“I don’t think it’s something we would want to do,” he said, “and I think it’s very unlikely. But what’s really scandalous about this, is where people have been trying to sabotage the will of the people, and break their promises left, right and centre.”

Brexit has dominated the early stages of the leadership debate. Michael Gove, who came third in the first MPs’ ballot on Tuesday, has suggested he would be willing to delay by a few weeks or months if necessary to get the right deal, but Johnson, who is the overwhelming frontrunner, has insisted he will leave on time.

Rory Stewart, Johnson’s fellow old Etonian, who picked up the support of the defence minister Tobias Ellwood on Sunday, told the BBC he did not know what Johnson’s Brexit plan really was.

“This is the moment, in this leadership race, to say who – and it’s a very brutal question – who do you trust to be your prime minister? How is Boris going to deliver Brexit? How?”

“I don’t even know what he believes – he won’t talk to me, he won’t talk to you, he won’t talk to the public,” he said, before reiterating his insistence that he would not take a cabinet job if Johnson were to offer him one. “I would not serve,” he said.

Johnson is not taking part in Sunday’s TV debate, after warning he feared it could be “cacophonous” – but will join a similar event on Tuesday night, after at least one more leadership contender has been knocked out.

Stewart said his approach would be to try to get the existing Brexit deal through parliament, telling MPs: “This is the last-chance saloon. Get it done.” If that failed, he would convene a citizens’ assembly to decide what should happen next.

“All these other people are just saying: I’m just going to go to Europe, and I’m going to shout, and I’m going to get us out, ‘Give me a deal,’” he said.

Sajid Javid used an article in BrexitCentral on Sunday to set out more details of his approach. He said he would aim to deliver “the only thing that’s got through parliament: leaving Europe with alternative arrangements on the backstop”.

And he repeated his offer to subsidise any spending by the Irish government necessary to provide border checks. Johnson has also talked about alternative arrangements, but Raab said: “I’m not quite clear what Boris’s plan is.”

Raab has pitched himself as the most determined Brexiter, but many of the most ardent Tory leavers, including Steve Baker and Jacob Rees-Mogg, are backing Johnson instead.

Raab sought to burnish his reputation as the most resolute leaver on Sunday, saying: “All those candidates that are going weak at the knees, and saying, ‘I’m not sure about this or that,’ they’re sending a message to the EU that, frankly, they can take us for a ride. We’ve had three years of that, and, frankly, it’s time to get this done.”

Grassroots and shadow cabinet add to pressure on Corbyn over Brexit
 
Read more
And while he came fourth in the first round of voting, with 27 supporters, he insisted he still hoped to achieve the 33 votes necessary to progress to the next round, when MPs take part in the second round on Tuesday.

“We’ve had extra support coming in, so I’ve got a good base, and we’re well-placed to build some momentum. The race hasn’t really started,” he said.

more on this story
 


Textise: Back to top

This text-only page was created by Textise (www.textise.net) © Textise - CPC LLC
To find out more about our product, visit Textise.org.