Jeremy Hunt has been pilloried for comparing the costs of a no-deal Brexit to the money spent bailing out banks after the 2008 financial crisis.
In a series of tweets devoted to the Tory leadership hopeful’s spending plans, he justified having to put aside enormous support funds for key industries. “We spent just over £1 trillion bailing out the banks after the financial crisis,” he argued. “So if we did it for the bankers then why wouldn’t we do it what is needed for our fishermen and our farmers now?”
In the lengthy thread, he argued that the country must prepare seriously to make a no-deal Brexit a “credible threat” in the eyes of EU negotiators. His plans for this include a £6 billion relief fund for fishers and farmers.
But the £1 trillion tweet has prompted hundreds of head-scratching replies.
Numerous people pointed out that Brexit is an entirely voluntary crisis, unlike the financial crash.
It's all bonkers. Utterly bonkers. https://t.co/NEXnWBdzBF— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 1, 2019
“The big difference between the financial crash and Brexit is, the financial crash was something that unfortunately happened, while Brexit is a choice that we could still halt if we figured out it was going to cost £1 trillion,” said Twitter user Nick Tyrone.
Others noticed that Hunt exaggerated the amount spent during the crash, with one councillor from Hunt’s own party pointing out the inaccuracy.
“We most certainly did not spend £1 trillion bailing out the banks,” tweeted the leader of Camden’s Conservatives, Oliver Cooper.
A House of Commons briefing paper found that the banking crisis cost £23 billion of public money, and Hunt’s £1 trillion figure is likely to refer to expenditure plus the value of government guarantees.
Some Twitter users were confused that the party of fiscal responsibility was suddenly making impassioned arguments for massive public spending. Ceasefire Magazine’s Hicham Yezza tweeted: “Jeremy Hunt now getting confused over which Jeremy he is …”
But most comments were just in awe at the insanity of the entire situation and the arguments it is forcing the would-be leaders to make.
“It’s all bonkers. Utterly bonkers,” tweeted Gary Lineker.