British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that there is a real possibility of a "no-deal" Brexit scenario between the United Kingdom and the European Union occurring "by accident." Mr. Hunt, who is just a week into his new role after Boris Johnson's resignation from the Foreign Office, made the comments while he was in Berlin preparing to meet his German counterpart Heiko Maas.
UK government officials have become increasingly forceful in their rejection of Brussels' negotiation positions, with Prime Minister Theresa May last week criticizing the bloc on its Northern Irish border stance and calling for it to develop a plan for a negotiated settlement.
Foreign Sec Jeremy #Hunt says there is “real risk” of no deal #brexit by accident. Says EU thinks if wait long enough the UK will blink but “that’s not going to happen”. Calls on EU negotiators to change tack. Hunt in Berlin meeting German counterpart— Michelle Clifford (@skynewsmichelle) July 23, 2018
Jeremy Hunt, on visit to Berlin, says there's a real risk of no deal by accident, and the fissure would change British attitudes to the EU for a generation #brexit— Rachel Kennedy (@rachelkennedy84) July 23, 2018
While insisting that the EU needed to show a greater willingness to compromise if a final agreement on Britain's exit from the bloc is to be agreed, Mr. Hunt said, "I will be clear that our European partners must show much more flexibility and creativity in negotiations if we are to avoid a 'no deal by accident' scenario."
The UK's new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has also ramped up the pressure on Brussels, warning that London could refuse to pay the $44.4 billion divorce bill insisted upon by the bloc in retaliation for no agreement being reached.
The outbreak of political chaos within the UK government in recent weeks has intensified speculation that London is actively preparing for a "no-deal scenario," in which British ports are grid-locked and shortages occur on imported goods due to World Trade Organization tariffs coming into effect if no deal is finalized.