Jeremy Hunt Brexit stance: Single Market and second referendum revisited

Brexit Bill: Boris Johnson on brink of ‘pretty big row’ says expert

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s future remains in the balance, after a vote of confidence was held in his leadership of the Conservative Party last week. Mr Johnson won the poll by 211 votes to 148, but is still facing calls to step aside. One of the MPs who rebelled against him was his former leadership rival, Jeremy Hunt, who had urged his fellow Tories to vote for change.

Before the vote took place Mr Hunt said Conservatives know “in our hearts we are not giving the British people the leadership they deserve”.

He added: “We are not offering the integrity, competence and vision necessary to unleash the enormous potential of our country.

“And because we are no longer trusted by the electorate, who know this too, we are set to lose the next general election.

“Anyone who believes our country is stronger, fairer & more prosperous when led by Conservatives should reflect that the consequence of not changing will be to hand the country to others who do not share those values.”

For a Tory leadership contest to take place, Mr Johnson would need to be removed from his role as PM.

However, he has given no indication he intends to go, and has instead urged MPs to “draw a line” under questions about leadership.

If Mr Johnson were to leave office, one of the favourites to replace him would be Mr Hunt.

He’s currently ranked as the joint favourite with Ladbrokes, where he has odds of 6/1.

He’s also placed as the second favourite, with his chances rated at 13/2 with Betfair.

One of the key issues which would likely affect support for Mr Hunt is how he would look to tackle Brexit.

In the run up to the 2016 European Union (EU) referendum, he backed the Remain campaign.

After the result, Mr Hunt initially suggested a second referendum, on the terms of an exit deal.

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He backed an agreement in which the UK would remain part of the EU’s Single Market.

However, during the 2019 Tory leadership contest, Mr Hunt caused anger amongst businesses after comments he made about a no-deal Brexit.

At the time, Britain had yet to reach terms on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, and the possibility of no-deal was being discussed.

Mr Hunt said he would willingly tell people whose companies went bust, after a no-deal Brexit, that their sacrifice had been necessary, sparking fury from UK residents.

He would eventually go on to lose against the incumbent PM, and would step down from his then role as foreign secretary.

Since January 2020 he has served as the chairman of the Health and Social Care Select Committee.

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