Boris Johnson’s “do or die” Brexit pledge risks installing Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street, Conservative leadership Jeremy Hunt has warned.
The foreign secretary hit back at his rival in the race to be Prime Minister after Johnson made it clear he would take the UK out of the EU with or without a deal on 31 October.
Hunt wants to reopen negotiations with the EU, and said he would only take the UK out without a deal at the end of the current extension period if it was clear no new agreement could be reached.
Speaking on BBC Radio 2 on Wednesday, Hunt spelt out the dangers he saw with Johnson’s stance.
He said: “If we do it in this kind of ‘do or die way’, the risk is that we’ll just trip into a general election because parliament will stop it, as they did in March, and then we’ll have Corbyn in Downing Street, and there will be no Brexit at all.”
Hunt is facing a battle to convince Conservative party members that he would deliver on the EU referendum, despite backing Remain in that vote.
In a bid to play up his Brexit credentials, he agreed with a caller to the Radio 2 show that the EU was “treating us like dirt”, and added: “I don’t think they’ve shown respect for us at all.”
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On Tuesday, Johnson penned an open letter to Hunt, challenging him to set out the length of any further extension he would sanction to the UK’s EU membership.
Hunt responded by mocking Johnson’s refusal to take part in a Sky News debate.