He set out his vision for an “energised” Britain standing “on its own two feet” in the world with a fast-growing, entrepreneurial economy. And in a jibe at his rival’s “do-or-die” Brexit pledge, he said: “You’ve got to be careful only to promise what you can deliver.” Mr Hunt spoke out about his “zeal” for delivering Brexit as he headed back to Westminster after a string of campaign visits in Essex yesterday. He joked that he wanted the UK to quit the EU “tomorrow” and admitted the failure to leave the bloc on time in March had provoked anger across the country. “The absolute fact is that every single day beyond March 29 is too late,” he said.
“I think it will become very clear in the next couple of months that the EU is ready to negotiate.
“And if they’re not, they will see that Britain is ready for no-deal.”
Mr Hunt refused to directly criticise Mr Johnson – who earlier this week vowed to get the UK out of the EU by October 31 – but said his rival’s Brexit blueprint was “nonsense”.
He added: “The argument now isn’t about whether or not we leave the EU, it’s who is the prime minister we trust to actually get us out quickly.
“As an entrepreneur and a negotiator, I can go to Brussels, get that deal, get it through Parliament and allow us to start the next chapter of our exciting history.
“I want to leave. Frankly, every day after March 29 is a day too long.”
The Foreign Secretary said that seeing the country’s economic growth since the 2016 EU referendum had convinced him he was wrong to have voted Remain in the poll.
“I was worried about the short-term impact on the British economy,” Mr Hunt said.
“But I’ve just seen how resilient our economy has been and all the things that people predicted haven’t happened.
“That’s persuaded me we can make a tremendous success of Brexit.”
Mr Hunt warned that failure to deliver on that promise would almost certainly lead to a backlash from voters.
“I think people would become very angry,” he said. “The best thing about our country is that we are one of the most respected democracies.
“This is a country where politicians do what the people tell them. That’s why we’ve got to leave.”
He also fleshed out his plan to invite the Democratic Unionist Party and Jacob Rees-Mogg’s European Research Group of MPs to bolster his negotiating team – but rejected the idea of working with Nigel Farage.
“Nigel Farage wants to leave without a deal,” he said. “The Brexit Party doesn’t have any MPs in Parliament.
To deliver Brexit, you’ve got to get it through Parliament.”
Mr Hunt said French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had confirmed there was a readiness in Europe for fresh negotiations to break the Brexit deadlock.
“They are prepared to look at the whole package,” he said.
“If they won’t be flexible, I will leave without a deal. It wouldn’t be my first choice but it would be what we have to do.”
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