Jeremy Hunt insisted that leaving the EU would ultimately make the UK richer, clashing with Beth Rigby on Sky News.
The chancellor also rejected the independent Office for Budget Responsibility’s assessment that Brexit would shrink the UK economy by 4% over the long term.
Hunt and Rigby, political editor of Sky News, spoke out in a 20-minute interview about the results of the autumn statement.
When pointed to the OBR forecast, Hunt responded, “I’m not accepting 4%.”
Rigby replied, “But sometimes you accept the OBR numbers if you like them, like falling inflation.” You’re happy with it.
The Chancellor replied, “Yes, I don’t have to accept them all.”
When Rigby again said, “You accept the ones you like,” Hunt said, “Well, I accept the ones I agree with and I don’t accept the ones I disagree with.” which I do not agree with.”
Hunt stressed that the OBR forecast was based on what would happen if the government did nothing to mitigate the consequences of leaving the EU.
He said: “I accept that there is a change for businesses as we as a country have voted to change our trading relationship with the EU.
“It was a decision that the whole country made. We had a real democratic process and there is a change going on and that change is clearly causing problems for some companies.
“What I do not accept is that the long-term effect of that decision will be that we become poorer. On the contrary. I think we have tremendous opportunities to become much richer than we otherwise would have been. Those are opportunities I want to embrace
At one point, Hunt’s frustration became apparent during questioning when he said: “With all due respect, Brexit is not the issue all these independent commentators talk about when they talk about the challenges facing the UK economy.” Let’s talk
“Then I’ll answer your question, but let’s make this last one.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Hunt stressed that Kwesi Kwarteng’s disastrous fall declaration had not caused long-term damage to the economy.
He also refused to apologize for the chaos created by his predecessor’s unfunded tax cuts.
“I think we showed that we think what happened was wrong. We’ve fixed it and we’ve got the country back on track.