LONDON — The U.K. will be “better off outside the EU,” even if it leaves the bloc with no deal, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Wednesday.
In the latest of several recent statements on the desirability or otherwise of a no-deal Brexit, Hunt told Axios that, despite backing Remain at the 2016 referendum, he was now of the view that the U.K. is best served by leaving, whatever the outcome of negotiations.
Hunt has previously outlined how his views have changed since the referendum, but his comments on the no-deal scenario have varied. Last week he wrote on Twitter that Britain “WOULD survive and prosper without a deal” after telling ITV that no-deal “would be a mistake we would regret for generations.”
In his latest interview, Hunt also heaped praise on his predecessor Boris Johnson, who resigned last month in protest at Theresa May’s softening of her Brexit stance. Johnson has “changed the course of British history through his campaigning for Brexit,” Hunt said.
Asked if Johnson, who is Conservative Party members’ favorite to replace May, would make a good prime minister, Hunt said: “I don’t agree with him on everything but, you know, who knows for the future?”
The foreign secretary also struck a conciliatory note with Washington over Donald Trump’s tariffs on EU imports, saying that Trump has spotted a “clear imbalance” in trade between the two powers and claiming the U.S. president “absolutely understands the importance of the international order as we know it.”
His assessment is in stark contrast to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who in an article for Handelsblatt on Wednesday said the “overlapping of values and interests” between the U.S. and Europe is “decreasing,” and called for the EU to act as a “counterweight” to an increasingly unilateralist America.