Hunt pledges £6bn no-deal Brexit war chest while Johnson's supporters say he will end public sector pay freezes

Conservative party leadership contenders Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson Credit: PA

Tory leadership contender Jeremy Hunt says Britain must get on with Brexit.

The Foreign Secretary used a speech in Westminster to say: "Uncertainty is bad for business... and bad for our country."

Mr Hunt said that if he becomes prime minister he will decide on September 30 whether there is a realistic chance of getting a Brexit deal through the Commons.

The Foreign Secretary said if he did not think there was sufficient movement from the EU by that date he would increase efforts to cope with a no-deal exit.

Mr Hunt pledged to create a £6 billion war chest to handle a no-deal Brexit, while Boris Johnson's supporters say he will end public sector pay freezes.

There was a thinly veiled criticism of Mr Johnson, when Mr Hunt was asked if he had the personality and charisma to be prime minister, he responded: "When I talk to people running their own business; to farmers; to shopkeepers; to people on the high street who are worried about the situation we are in now, they don't want a showman, they don't want to be entertained who is going to lead us out of this crisis."

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson's plan is seen by some as a dig at former health secretary Mr Hunt who made enemies in the NHS when he imposed new contracts on junior doctors in 2016 and oversaw the slowest period of investment in the NHS since its foundation.

Mr Johnson's supporters have moved to capitalise on the weakness, with Health Secretary and Johnson-backer Matt Hancock telling the Times that public sector workers would get a "fair" pay rise under Mr Johnson.Despite the claim of his supporter, Mr Johnson refused to commit to payrise for NHS workers.

"Of course he's right, we are going to make sure that we properly fund our public services," Mr Johnson said.

"It's very important when you're in charge of a great public service, whether it's the police or transport, you've got to make sure - or local government - you've got to make sure that you understand their cares and their needs.

"And the only way to get the reform that you sometimes need in public services is to be their champion."

As campaigning continued on Monday, Mr Hunt told supporters that food producers should be treated like the financial services industry during the 2008 financial crash.

Mr Hunt will set out a 10-point plan, including a Cobra-style committee to “turbocharge” Whitehall preparations and keep Britain open for business in the event of World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs coming into effect.

“You cannot leave the European Union on a wing and a prayer,” he is expected to say.

“Britain deserves better.”

Mr Johnson spent Monday morning at a garden centre, where he spoke of his confidence in securing a Brexit deal if he becomes prime minister.

"We will prepare for no deal, we will do what it takes. But I am very, very confident that we will get a result that is overwhelming in the interest of businesses and citizens on both sides of The Channel," Mr Johnson said.

The Foreign Secretary pledged to set up a temporary No Deal Relief Programme, including the war chest for farmers and fishermen exporting to Europe, to ease transition out of the European Union and honour international obligations.

He said: “If you’re a sheep farmer in Shropshire or a fisherman in Peterhead I have a simple message for you – I know you face uncertainty if we have to leave the EU without a deal.

“I will mitigate the impact of no-deal Brexit on you and step in to help smooth those short-term difficulties.

“If we could do it for the bankers in the financial crisis, we can do it for our fishermen, farmers and small businesses now.”

Boris Johnson's supporters say he will end public sector pay freezes. Credit: PA

On Monday, Mr Hunt told MPs he plans to immediately ramp up no-deal preparations and identify actions the Government could take to mitigate the impact of no deal in the short term.

Plans to keep goods flowing in and out of the UK, including emergency powers so ports and airports can coordinate nationally, will be led by a new National Logistics Committee led by the Department for Transport.

Mr Hunt said that a no-deal Brexit Budget should be prepared, including a corporation tax cut to 12.5%, increasing the annual allowance to £5 million and taking 90% of high street businesses out of rates.

Mr Hunt said: “Britain deserves a leader who works tirelessly to get a deal but who is prepared to put the hard yards in preparing for no deal.”

He stressed he would prefer the UK to leave the EU with a “new deal” that removes the Irish backstop and ensures a fully independent trade policy, which he said is possible “if the Commission engages in good faith”.

Mr Hunt added: “Britain deserves a leader with the courage to not just tell the European Commission he will walk away, but to show them he is willing and able to do so.

“Because in the end, without those abilities, without that determination, and without that plan, it is just a wing and a prayer.”

Similar support packages have recently been carried out by President Donald Trump who provided a $16bn package for farmers affected by Chinese tariffs.

Boris Johnson's supporters say he will end wage freezes. Credit: PA

Speaking to The Times about the former mayor of London's plan, Mr Hancock said: "Now that there's money available we need to show the public sector some love - they do a brilliant job for the country,

"People in the public sector need to be properly rewarded for the brilliant job they do.

"Higher pay, not higher taxes, means a pay rise for everyone, including in the public sector."

A two-year public sector pay freeze was introduced under David Cameron before rises were capped at 1% until 2017 under austerity measures.

Mr Hancock added he had just given junior doctors an 8% pay rise over several years and claimed this showed "the days of pay freezes are over".

However, a spokesman for the Royal College of Nursing, which represents over 300,000 nursing staff in England, said warm words would not help pay the bills of workers whose pay still lagged behind levels a decade ago.

He said: "Warm words about public sector workers won't get any new prime minister very far.

"The wages of too many still lag behind where they were 10 years ago in real terms.

"Until their pay matches the education and skills required, the Government will struggle to fill the 40,000 vacant nurse jobs in England."