Rishi Sunak slaps down Jeremy Hunt by rejecting new deal with Brussels that ‘relies on Britain aligning with EU rules’

RISHI Sunak slapped down Jeremy Hunt today with an “unequivocal ” rejection of a new deal with Brussels “that relies on alignment with EU rules”. The ..

RISHI Sunak slapped down Jeremy Hunt today with an “unequivocal ” rejection of a new deal with Brussels “that relies on alignment with EU rules”. 

The PM was forced to rule out softening Brexit after comments from the Chancellor sparked a massive Tory backlash. 



Rishi Sunak slaps down Jeremy Hunt by rejecting new deal with Brussels that ‘relies on Britain aligning with EU rules’
Rishi Sunak has slammed the idea that Britain should pursue a Swiss-style relationship with the EU

Rishi Sunak slaps down Jeremy Hunt by rejecting new deal with Brussels that ‘relies on Britain aligning with EU rules’
Rishi Sunak addressed the Confederation of British Industry’s annual conference today

Mr Sunak was in Birmingham this morning to address the Confederation of British Industry’s annual conference.

The group represents 190,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors, and its corporate members together employ nearly 7 million people.

In his speech the PM gave a cast-iron guarantee the UK will continue making its own laws after his Chancellor eyed softening the relationship with the bloc.

Scrambling to defuse a Tory rebellion, he said: “Let me be unequivocal about this. Under my leadership, the United Kingdom will not pursue any relationship with Europe that relies on alignment with EU laws.

“I voted for Brexit, I believe in Brexit and I know that Brexit can deliver, and is already delivering, enormous benefits and opportunities for the country.”

Remain-supporting Mr Hunt fuelled speculation he wants a Swiss-style deal with Brussels that would see Britain dragged back into the EU’s laws. 

He said he wants to tear down trade barriers even further, which could also come with the condition of more free-flowing migration. 

Top Brexiteers blasted any such move as a “betrayal” of the 2016 vote and demanded Mr Sunak kills off such plans or face a revolt. 

Last night Nigel Farage threatened a return to frontline politics to “crush” any Tory plot to reverse or weaken Brexit.

The Leave chief warned “he was not ruling anything out”.

Meanwhile, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith hit out: “The government has got to focus on what it needs to do, rather than trying to reopen a settled debate about Europe.

“The Chancellor needs to himself slap this story down, this should never have got going and if he meant it or not, he needs to make it clear this is not what the government is about.”

Even big business bosses told the PM just to crack on with Boris Johnson’s deal to unleash the potential of Brexit.

CBI chief Tony Danker said: “Boris Johnson achieved a deal with the EU that allows us to continue to trade tariff and quota free with our biggest trading partner. There’s some good stuff in there, currently locked up.”

Away from Brexit, Mr Tony Danker used this week’s conference to sound the alarm over chronic labour shortages.

Unemployment in the UK currently sits at the low rate of 3.6 per cent but job vacancies have reached record highs.

Mr Danker wants Britain to let in more migrants to solve the problem.

In a conference address the CBI chief argued that employee shortages are crippling the economy and stifling growth.

He said there aren’t enough Brits to fill vital roles, leaving businesses in a state of desperation.

In a further blow to the government, Mr Danker also criticised the Autumn Statement, arguing it didn’t include plans for growth.

He said: “Let’s be honest, we don’t have the people we need, nor do we have the productivity.

“People are arguing against immigration but it’s the only thing that’s increased our growth potential since March.

“We don’t have enough Brits to go around for the vacancies that exist, let alone having a skill mismatch in any case.”

This morning Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick slammed the idea Britain needs more migrants.

He told TalkTV the government “want to bring down net migration”.

“It’s something that is very important to the British people and we’re on the side of the British people,” Mr Jenrick said.

“If British employers are looking for lower-skilled labour, then the first port of call should be the domestic workforce.”

Today the PM hailed migration controls as a major Brexit bonus.

He said: “We have proper control of our borders and are able to have a conversation with the country about the type of migration that we want and need.

“We weren’t able to do that inside the European Union, at least now we are in control of it.”