Liam Fox becomes Boris Johnson’s candidate to lead World Trade Organisation

Boris Johnson (left) outlines a vision for Brexit watched by former Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox. P

Boris Johnson (left) outlines a vision for Brexit watched by former Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Disgraced former defence secretary Liam Fox - also sacked by Boris Johnson as trade secretary - has been nominated by Boris Johnson to lead the World Trade Organisation.

Praised by the prime minister as a 'passionate advocate of multilateralism', reports suggest rival Peter Mandelson, a former Labour minister, was rejected for the role by the government for his pro-EU views.

The prime minister's official spokesman said: 'The PM will be writing to the WTO today and he will say that Dr Fox is a passionate advocate of multilateralism who brings detailed knowledge of the global trading system from his years as a UK Cabinet minister and secretary of state for international trade.

'He has first-hand experience of the political and technical challenges of negotiating trade agreements and the reforms that are needed to ensure the global trading system truly delivers for all WTO members.

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'Dr Fox will be supported by a cross-government team.'

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Pressed on whether being a Brexiteer is now a necessary qualification for senior appointments, the spokesman said: 'No.'

The Brexiteer has previously claimed that a Brexit deal with the EU would be 'one of the easiest in human history'.

He also said that the government would immediately agree 40 free trade deals with other non-EU countries the minute Britain leaves the European Union.

Fox would need support from another key player at the organisation to gain the job, but with links to Washington could manage to convince the US to back him.

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