Jeremy Hunt under fire for comparing the EU to the Soviet Union in keynote speech

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt speaks at the Conservative party conference. Image: Getty

Monday, October 1, 2018

European politicians and diplomats have criticised Jeremy Hunt after he compared the EU to the Soviet Union in his keynote speech at the Conservative party conference.

In the speech, the foreign secretary said Brussels was seeking to "punish" Britain for wanting to leave the EU, and compared it to the USSR trying to stop its citizens leaving.

The comment was denounced as "rubbish" and "unworthy of a British Foreign Secretary" by the former head of the UK's diplomatic service, Lord Ricketts, while the Foreign Office's permanent secretary, Sir Simon Fraser, described it as a "shocking failure of judgment".

 

 

German Europe minister Michael Roth also got involved, saying: "Sorry, Jeremy Hunt, the EU is no prison!"

Sir Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the Commons Constitutional Affairs Committee, claimed the backlash to Mr Hunt's speech was "utterly extraordinary" and damaged "the reputation of the diplomatic service for political impartiality".

"It is utterly extraordinary that a former Foreign Office perm Sec should attack a present foreign secretary in this way. This damages the reputation of the diplomatic service for political impartiality," he said.