Jeremy Hunt had a blunt warning for the Conservative Government, if it doesn’t back May’s deal it could end up in the collapse of the party.
He urged his colleagues to back the PM’s deal, which has been accepted by the other EU states.
Hunt was speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, telling the interviewer that the deal “mitigates most of the negative impacts” of leaving the EU.
However he would not be drawn into answering a question on whether this deal is better that what the UK already has.
Hunt told Marr: “I think the truth is there are compromises in this deal.
“But my colleagues in the House of Commons will be looking at this and they will say, we have got between 70% and 80% of what we want, and the question is: can this be a staging post to getting 100% of what we want, particularly being an independent trading nation, a sovereign Britain ploughing our furrow in the world?”
Worryingly for May, and her deal, it is rumoured that 90 Tory MPs will not support it, and the DUP have made their feelings clear on the deal, and also won’t be backing the PM.
Around 90 Tory MPs have publicly said they can’t support it while the DUP have also pledged to vote against it.
Jeremy Hunt said: “The arithmetic at the moment is looking challenging. But a lot can change over the next two weeks. I think what all of my colleagues will be doing is thinking what is in the national interest.”
Asked if this meant it was possible the government could collapse, he said: “It’s not possible to rule out anything, and that’s why all of us have to do is say, what do your constituents actually want in this situation, and we have to work out what’s in the national interest, and it’s all about the balance of risks. This isn’t a perfect deal for everyone, but does have a lot of what everyone wants.”
EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker warned if the deal is defeated, there will not be another chance to negotiate.
He said: “I am totally convinced that this is the only deal possible. Those who think by rejecting the deal that they would have a better deal will be disappointed in the first seconds after the rejection of this deal.”