International trade secretary Liam Fox has used a speech in Argentina to lash out at “gloomy” Brexit commentators, urging them to be more positive.
Sceptical pundits needed to understand Brexit was “not a time bomb” and leaving the European Union would allow the UK to have a “bold and confident” future, he said.
At a reception on the margins of a World Trade Organisation summit in Argentina, the leading Hard Brexiteer hit out at “gloomy” commentators who had an “extremely negative” view of Brexit.
He claimed that leaving the European Union would give the UK the opportunity to reinvigorate its relationship with the Commonwealth.
He told Commonwealth representatives that leaving the EU would allow the UK to give “renewed attention” to friends and allies outside Europe.
He said: “As the United Kingdom negotiates its exit from the European Union, we have the opportunity to reinvigorate our Commonwealth partnerships, and usher in a new era where expertise, talent, goods, and capital can move unhindered between our nations in a way that they have not for a generation or more.
“Too many commentators, some in Britain and some beyond, have an extremely negative view of Brexit, unable to see renewed opportunities including those that the UK can bring as an independent member of the World Trade Organisation.
“To those who take the gloomy view let me say this – Brexit is not a time bomb to be defused but the opportunity for a bold and confident future mandated by the British public in a referendum.
“We should see it as a blueprint for an optimistic and outward-looking future.”
Dr Fox,who was forced to resign as defence secretary in 2011 after allowing his former flatmate and self-styled advisor Adam Werrity to attend meetings, dismissed concerns that London’s role as a global financial centre could suffer as a result of leaving the EU.
Financial institutions are expected to move staff to other EU nations in preparation for the UK’s departure from the bloc.
But Dr Fox said: “There are those who claim that London may lose its preeminence as the world’s premier financial centre.
“I believe nothing could be further from the truth. The depth of professional infrastructure in financial services that London possesses cannot be easily replicated elsewhere nor can its regulatory system or international reputation.”