Jeremy Hunt has cut his Christmas holiday short to travel to Asia this week for his vision of post-Brexit prosperity. Writing for The Daily Mail, the foreign secretary warned against a second referendum saying it would “divide the country again right at the moment when people need to come together”. Mr Hunt called for Britain to back the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal, warning that “other options are fraught with danger”.
The foreign secretary called for Britain to “stand behind” Mrs May and “back her to get the deal through Parliament”.
He said: “Yes it’s true that no negotiation every produced an outcome that was perfect for all sides, and this deal is no different.
“So it is always alluring to reach for alternatives.
“But in this case other options are fraught with danger.
“A quick fix like a second referendum? A simple solution like no deal? An easy option like Parliament taking control?
“The truth is all these ideas create more problems than they solve.”
Mr Hunt particularly condemned a second referendum, warning that the vote would “divide the country again right at the moment when people needed to come together”.
He added that a second vote also ran the risk of the losing side calling for a third referendum.
He said: “Politicians like Tony Blair might like the idea of a second referendum.
“It’s the equivalent of saying to the public: you created the problem by voting to leave, now over to you to fix it.
“But at the last Election the overwhelming majority of people voted for parties that said they would leave the EU – so a second vote would mean ducking the consequences of that promise made not just by the Conservatives but by Labour as well.
“Jeremy Corbyn might be comfortable with such a dereliction of duty, but not Theresa May.”
Mr Hunt also warned that if a second referendum failed, Britain’s risks of a no-deal Brexit increases.
He said: “walking away without a deal would present risks to business and jobs even if you believe in the end we would find a way through it to survive and prosper.
“No one should be encoring a move that could leave us poorer at the same time as gladdening the hearts of those who wish for a fractured Europe.”
The foreign secretary said Britain was no longer a superpower, but conceded “we are still very much a global power”.
He said our role post-Brexit is to build links with other countries who share Britain’s core values of “decency, stability, fairness and democracy”, in order to “build an invisible chain of democracies”.
He added that these countries would be “strong and confident in what we belief in up against those who would seek to undermine us”.
Mr Hunt described the “remarkable transformation” of Singapore, a country that became independent in 1965, as a reminder of the “tidal shifts that can exist within the ebb and flow of the changing world order”.
In Asia this week, he said he will “sit down with those most eager to strengthen their links with Britain once we have left the European Union.