Jeremy Hunt says Slovenia gaffe was ‘expression of friendship’

The Foreign Secretary has said a gaffe where he described Slovenia as a “Soviet vassal state” was an attempt at an “expression of friendship”.

Jeremy Hunt made the statement while visiting the country – which was part of the former Yugoslavia and not the USSR – last week.

The SNP’s Stephen Gethins described his comments in the House of Commons as an example of how the UK was losing friends in the EU just at the point it needed them to renegotiate the Brexit deal.

Mr Hunt said on Thursday: “What I was saying to Slovenia when I was there was how impressed I was with the transformation of Slovenia, since they were part of the former Yugoslavia.

“It was an expression of friendship, from the UK to Slovenia.”

The Foreign Secretary spoke while visiting Heriot-Watt University’s Scottish Borders campus in Galashiels, where he had a go at making his own print T-shirt.

He said the UK could “conquer the world” with its creativity after leaving the EU.

Jeremy Hunt puts on rubber gloves
Mr Hunt puts on rubber gloves before making a T-shirt screen print (Jane Barlow/PA)

Mr Hunt added: “Brexit is an opportunity for us as a country to ask ourselves ‘how are we going to be successful in the 21st century?’

“The key quality we have in Scotland, in the whole of the UK, is creativity.

“This creativity that can conquer the world in the 21st century means being open to – not just big European markets – but markets all over the world.

“Brexit will be a springboard to that.”

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