Jeremy Hunt Claims Brexit Will Make UK Richer In Feisty Beth Rigby Interview

The chancellor rejected the independent Office for Budget Responsibility forecast that leaving the EU will shrink the economy by 4%.
Beth Rigby grilled Jeremy Hunt on Sky News
Beth Rigby grilled Jeremy Hunt on Sky News
Sky News

Jeremy Hunt insisted leaving the EU will eventually make the UK richer as he clashed with Beth Rigby on Sky News.

The chancellor also rejected the independent Office for Budget Responsibility’s assessment that Brexit will leave the UK’s economy 4% smaller in the long term.

Hunt and Rigby, Sky News’s political editor, locked horns in a 20-minute interview on the fallout from the autumn statement.

When the OBR forecast was pointed out to him, Hunt replied: “I don’t accept the 4%.”

Rigby hit back: “But you accept the OBR figures sometimes when you like them such as falling inflation. You’re happy to take that one.”

The chancellor replied: “Yes, I don’t don’t have to accept all of them.”

When Rigby again pointed out “you accept the ones you like”, Hunt said: “Well, I accept the ones I agree with and I don’t accept the ones I don’t agree with that one I don’t agree with.”

Hunt insisted the OBR forecast was based on what would happen if the government did nothing to mitigate the effects of leaving the EU.

He added: “I accept there is a transition for businesses because we voted as a country to change our trading relationship with the EU.

“That was a decision the whole country made. We had a proper democratic process and there is a change and that transition obviously presents difficulties for some businesses.

“What I don’t accept is that the long term impact of that decision will be to make us poorer. Quite the opposite. I think there are big opportunities for us to become much more wealthy than we would otherwise have been. Those are the opportunities that I want to embrace.”

At one point, Hunt’s frustration at the line of questioning became clear when he said: “With respect, Brexit is not the issue that all these independent commentators are talking about when they talk about challenges facing the British economy.

“So I’ll answer your question, but let’s make it the last time.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Hunt also insisted Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous autumn statement had not caused long-term damage to the economy.

He also refused to apologise for the chaos unleashed by his predecessor’s unfunded tax cuts.

“I think we have demonstrated that we think what happened was wrong. We’ve corrected it and we’ve put the country back on the right track,” he said.


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