Jeremy Hunt has set a “hard deadline” for negotiating a new Brexit deal, warning Brussels that if no agreement is reached he will call off talks by September 30 and switch to a no-deal footing.
The Tory leadership candidate has set out a 10-point plan, including a Cobra-style committee to “turbocharge” Whitehall preparations and keep Britain open for business in the event of World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs coming into effect.
Jeremy Hunt is planning to ramp up preparations for a no-deal Brexit which will include a £6bn war chest for farmers and fishermen exporting to Europe.
Whilst the Foreign Secretary insisted that his priority was securing a better deal, he said would begin ratcheting up no-deal preparations on “day one” in Downing Street in case Brussels “refuses to budge”.
Speaking in central London, Mr Hunt said he would first seek the approval of Parliament for his new Brexit plan before heading to Brussels to renegotiate with a clear mandate from MPs.
The discussions would last for three weeks, he said, but would be cancelled if by September 30 it became apparent that a fresh offer stood no “realistic chance” of being ratified by Parliament.