Jeremy Hunt To EU Leader: “Don’t Mistake British Politeness For Weakness”

Jeremy Hunt has called the EU leaders to not “mistake British politeness for weakness” and to engage seriously with Britain.

Speaking to the BBC on Saturday morning, British Foreign Secretary said Brussels should not underestimate the UK.

“One has to differentiate between statements that are said to create a negotiating environment and as a negotiating tactic, and the substance,” Hunt said.

“On the substance of the Chequers proposals, we have not had a detailed response,” he added, defending British Prime Minister Theresa May’s performance and criticized the “unreasonableness of the EU position.”

“We understand their red lines but they also need to understand ours,” Hunt said, adding that the government will not sign up to a deal not consistent “with the spirit and letter of the referendum.”

“We’ve made a democratic decision and this government, Theresa May, is not going to sign up to a deal that is not consistent with the spirit and the letter of the referendum,” he said.

Read MoreEU’s Donald Tusk Says Theresa May’s Brexit Plan “Will Not Work”

The comments come after the European Council president Donald Tusk rejected Theresa May’s Brexit proposals at an EU summit in Salzburg, Austria. this week and posted on his Instagram story shortly afterward.

“A piece of cake, perhaps?,” said Tusk, with a picture of him and the PM at the summit in Austria. “Sorry, no cherries.”

Twitter post by @JuliaHB1: This man Donald Tusk @eucopresident is an unelected Brussels bureaucrat whose wages are paid in part by the British taxpayer. And this is how he openly mocks the British Prime Minister, our country and our democratic vote. #TimeToLeave.

Tusk rejected a major part of May’s Chequers, saying the new economic partnership she had put forward does “not work” and risks “undermining the single market”.

“What Theresa May is saying is ‘don’t mistake British politeness for weakness’,” Hunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“If you put us in a difficult corner, we will stand our ground – that is the kind of country we are.”

Hunt called on EU leaders to get the tone right in the negotiations and avoid “insulting [May], insulting the British people on social media.” He added, referring to French President Emmanuel Macron’s comment that Brexit campaigners were liars. “getting to these stand-offs where you are calling people liars and so on is not the way we are going to get a solution to this difficult situation.”

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