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1 July 2019updated 07 Jun 2021 1:28pm

Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson must choose between an election and breaking their promises

By Stephen Bush

To defeat Boris Johnson, you must become him? Jeremy Hunt’s latest wheeze to overhaul the Conservative leadership frontrunner is a package of measures to ameliorate the consequences of a no-deal Brexit, including £6bn to support the farming and fishing industries. 

It underlines the ridiculousness of Johnson and Hunt’s pledges to prepare for no-deal: it requires getting a House of Commons that opposes a no-deal exit to support financial measures to prepare for no-deal. MPs have shown a reluctance to do anything that might definitively stop a no-deal Brexit — but they have also been unwilling to directly facilitate it. 

It’s also hard to see the upside from Hunt’s perspective: ultimately, Conservative members who want to pursue a Brexit strategy that cannot win the support of this parliament already have a candidate for that. 

But the really important thing is that as the Tory leadership election wears on, the party’s centre of gravity is moving still further away from any plan for Brexit that can command a majority in this House of Commons. Either an election or a lot of broken promises are on their way. 

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