Hunt warns of no-deal consequences as he visits EU capitals
The move comes as the food industry expresses concern over what impact crashing out of the EU would have on supplies.
Britain is ratcheting up warnings over the damage a no-deal Brexit could do to both the EU and UK as Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt launches a diplomatic offensive on the Continent.
Fresh from an embarrassing slip-up in China, Mr Hunt is visiting France and Austria on Tuesday and Wednesday to again insist London and Brussels could have to face the fall-out of an “accidental” UK exit from the EU without an agreement.
The move comes as the food industry issued new warnings about the impact a no-deal scenario would have on supplies.
Director of the British Sandwich and Food To Go Association, Jim Winship, told BBC2’s Newsnight: “If we suddenly have border controls being introduced that aren’t there now, that’s going to cause some massive problems with the fresh ingredients.
“We live in a just-in-time world. We don’t stockpile ingredients.
“It’s going to limit the amount of choice consumers have if we suddenly crash out.
“There are probably going to be shortages of ingredients, particularly like tomatoes, which we buy in quite a lot from Spain and Europe generally, lettuce.
“Realistically, any sort of crash out of Europe and sudden changes are going to cause problems.”
They (Government) should get behind Brexit which people voted for Tory MP Marcus Fysh
Ahead of his visits to France and Austria, Mr Hunt said: “I will be explaining to my counterparts in Paris and Vienna that it is time for the EU to engage with our proposals, or we potentially face the prospect of a no deal by accident, which would be very challenging for both the UK and EU.”
But Brexiteer Tory MP Marcus Fysh accused Downing Street of launching a scare-mongering campaign.
He told the BBC: “Number 10 has briefed that they want to scare people witless.
“That is irresponsible, scaremongering nonsense and it should stop right now and they should get behind Brexit which people voted for.”
Mr Hunt’s visits are occurring amid reports Britain was toughening its stance on services by warning the EU that thousands of European investment funds operating in the UK will be under threat without a trade deal.
The Foreign Secretary will also meet the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, to discuss the future of the Iran nuclear deal.
Rule #1 as a new Foreign Sec: when reflecting in English with the Chinese on a conversation you had with them in Japanese about your Chinese wife, don’t get any of those mixed up! Apologies to the long-suffering Mrs H...!— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 30, 2018
The trips follow a visit to China where Mr Hunt mistakenly told his hosts his Chinese wife is Japanese before correcting himself and admitting he had made a “terrible mistake”.
Meanwhile, the Commons Home Affairs Committee has strongly criticised the Government for falling to set out detailed proposals for a post-Brexit immigration policy more than two years after the EU referendum.