Brexiteers to blame for local election results, says Jeremy Hunt

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Brexiteers in the Conservative Party are partially to blame for the Tories' drubbing in the local elections, Jeremy Hunt has said as he warned against holding a general election before Brexit happens.

The foreign secretary said the government could have done things differently in the Brexit negotiations, but also took aim at his own colleagues for refusing to compromise and putting withdrawal in “peril”.

His party shed hundreds of councillors and lost control of more than 20 authorities in the poll, which Hunt described as a “tough” night.

Hunt said: “You can look at lots of different groups of people - you can look at Brexit purists in my party who have consistently refused to compromise and put Brexit in peril.

“You can for sure look at government - I'm sure that there are things we could have done differently in the course of the negotiations.

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“And you can look at the Labour Party who have played politics consistently.”

Hunt said the public had delivered a specific message showing their “real anger” with both the main political parties who had not delivered their promise to honour the result of the referendum.

And he claimed the results “completely debunk” the idea that the Labour Party could seek to blame the Tories for Brexit.

“If there were any in the Labour Party who thought that there was a very neat political strategy where they could hang Brexit entirely on the Tories' heads with no political price to be paid by Labour then these results completely debunk that,” he said.

Hunt added: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating of this but I don't think anyone can deny there is a very strong message from Labour voters in the north, Conservative voters in the south, that they expect Brexit to be delivered and MPs on all sides need to recognise that this is a non-negotiable issue for the British public.

“And if we think last night was tough whether Labour or Conservative, you ain't seen nothing yet if you have a general election and we have still failed to deliver Brexit.”

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