Jeremy Hunt has written to his former colleagues in the EU urging them to negotiate with the UK. The former foreign secretary has hit out at Brussels for misunderstanding British politics, and warns that a “catastrophic failure in statecraft” looms. He also issues a stern warning to EU chiefs and says if “they think this is bad, just wait until what happens after Boris wins an election”.
Speaking to BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Hunt revealed that he had sent the letter to Brussels to urge them to engage in Brexit talks with the UK.
He said: “I think we could be about to see a catastrophic failure in statecraft.
“Not because of malevolence by the EU – I think they are sincere in wanting a deal – but just because they haven’t really understood what’s happening in British politics right now.”
But the former cabinet secretary, who resigned when Mr Johnson won the Tory leadership race, said he did not think the EU were being “stubborn”.
Instead he said:”I think it is a bureaucratic inertia that says this is all so difficult and so complicated.
“But the biggest mistake that we made in the Brexit negotiations is when things get bad, you say, surely they could’t get even any worse than this – and they do.
“And I think that is true from the European’s point of view – they thing this is bad, just wait until what happens after Boris wins an election.”
The letter, sent to his former counterparts in the EU pleaded with them for a chance in tact.
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But he doesn’t pile all the blame on the EU, and concedes many “equally serious mis-steps” were made by the UK.
Mr Hunt ends the letter by saying: “Reports suggest an assumption by the EU that by not negotiating on the UK Government’s latest offer – a serious compromise which allows full regulatory alignment of goods in Northern Ireland – the outcome is a ‘no lose’ because an extension and General Election will either lead to a second referendum under a new Prime Minister or a continuation of the same discussions under Boris Johnson.
“That would be a catastrophic miscalculation.”
In an interview with the BBC, Mr Hunt said the Brexit deal should be “Ireland’s call”.