Chancellor Rishi Sunak has argued that England should seek independence from the UK because it “doesn’t make financial sense” to be part of it.
In a Financial Times profile of the Tory minister, it is claimed Sunak said England should separate from the rest of the Union to maximise profits.
A Tory colleague told the FT: “I remember discussing the future of the Union with Rishi and he argued that England should break away.
“He was advocating the end of the UK because it doesn’t make financial sense to him. He doesn’t have any love for the institution and I suspect he looks at it as he looks at anything: what’s the profit?”
“My parents moved to the United Kingdom”
Responding to the claims on Twitter, Sunak wrote: “There are some comments about the Union falsely attributed to me in the FT today.
“My parents moved to the United Kingdom, not England, because the Union represented an idea of opportunity. I am a strong believer in our union of four nations. Hope that clarifies that!”
In December, the Tory MP said indyref2 should not take place under any circumstances.
Asked if the Tory Government would allow a second vote, he said: “The Prime Minister’s been very clear. He is unequivocally committed to the Union, he passionately believes in it, and as you see this new government get to work, strengthening our Union, and levelling up and uniting our country will be at the heart of our agenda.”
Marr responded: “So no referendum under any circumstances?”
The then-chief secretary to the Treasury said: “That is absolutely not our intention.”
Sunak was forced to revamp his business loan scheme this week amid claims banks were holding back funds.
Fewer than 1,000 loans have so far been approved by banks under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, despite the Treasury receiving more than 130,000 queries from worried firms.
Mr Sunak said the changes would mean that more small businesses could apply for help, not just those which have been turned down for commenrical loans.
And a separate scheme is also being set up to provide emergency cash for larger firms impacted by Covid-19.