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Jeremy Hunt: A no-deal Brexit is ‘unrealistic’ and MPs would stop it



LONDON — A no-deal Brexit is not going to happen as MPs would block it, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said in a shock admission by a senior member of Theresa May’s government.

Downing Street has long insisted that no-deal remains a possible option and is using the threat of a no-deal scenario to cajole Conservative MPs into backing May’s deal.

However, the foreign secretary said the series of government defeats in parliament in recent days showed that MPs could stop the UK from crashing out of the European Union in March if they wanted to, and said it was “very unrealistic” to believe otherwise.

“The idea that Parliament is going to do nothing at all is highly unlikely,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

It comes after MPs signalled that they will seek to prevent a no-deal Brexit in March after voting on an amendment to the Finance Bill which would limit the government’s power to make tax changes in such a scenario.

However, while dismissing the prospect of no-deal, the foreign secretary instead warned that killing off Theresa May’s Brexit deal could mean that Brexit doesn’t happen at all, warning that such an outcome would be a “fundamental breach of trust” with the Leave-voting public.

Theresa May looks set for a heavy defeat when she puts her Brexit deal before parliament next week, with up to 120 Tory MPs planning to vote against her deal.

She has been making increasingly desperate efforts to court Conservative colleagues as well as Labour MPs but opponents say she has not secured the concessions they have demanded.

She has also been hampered by Cabinet ministers who are increasingly speaking out against the prospect of a no-deal Brexit. On Friday, Work & Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd hinted that she would resign if the government pursued Brexit without a deal, declining three times in an interview to say whether she would remain in government in such a situation.

Justice Secretary David Gauke and Business Secretary Greg Clark also appear ready to quit if the government tries to force through no-deal.

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