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No-deal Brexit will lead to 'many thousands' of jobs lost, Business Secretary warns

Greg Clark told MPs to "strain every sinew to avoid" a no-deal Brexit. Credit: PA

"Many thousands" of jobs would be lost if there is a no-deal Brexit, the Business Secretary has warned.

Greg Clark told MPs to "strain every sinew to avoid that", as both Conservative leadership hopefuls Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt said they would both leave the EU without a deal if needed.

However both Mr Hunt and Mr Johnson are expected to face backlash in the House of Commons, as some MPs have vowed to block any attempt.

A graphic which breaks down the timeline of the Conservative leadership race. Credit: PA Graphics

Mr Johnson pledged he will enact the EU exit by the October 31 deadline "come what may, do or die", while the Foreign Secretary said he would be willing to delay if a deal was in sight.

In a broadcast interview, Mr Clark warned of the disruption Britain would face if it went ahead with a no-deal Brexit.

“It’s evident that if you have the disruption that comes from a no-deal Brexit there will be people that will lose their jobs,” he told Sky News.

Boris Johnson at the Tory leadership hustings in Maidstone Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

“It’s many thousands of jobs. Everyone knows that.”

Mr Clark cited evidence from businesses when challenged that some are claiming the UK could weather an exit on World Trade Organisation terms.

“I think every person that considers the evidence that companies have given – whether it’s in the automotive sector, whether it’s in the food sector, whether it’s in aerospace, in industries up and down the country – you know if you become less efficient and your ability to trade is impeded, then of course losing your competitiveness means there will be jobs lost,” he said.

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Labour is set to vote against a no-deal Brexit as are senior Tories including Chancellor Philip Hammond and Justice Secretary David Gauke.

On Friday, the contenders head to Cheltenham for their latest hustings with the Tory members who are choosing their destiny.

Interviews with the BBC’s Andrew Neil will also be aired.

The new leader will be announced on July 23 and sworn in as PM the following day.