Fox says UK does not need trade deal with Europe after Brexit

PUBLISHED: 14:35 20 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:35 20 July 2017

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox

PA Wire/PA Images

Brexiteer cabinet minister Liam Fox has reiterated the government’s widely ridiculed negotiating tactic of “no deal is better than a bad deal”.

The Trade Secretary said the UK “can of course survive” without securing a trade deal with the European Union after Brexit.

May has repeatedly stated that her approach to Brexit is “no deal is better than a bad deal” and Fox said it was important that the EU recognised that resolve.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “We don’t want to have ‘no deal’, it is much better that we have a deal than no deal. We can of course survive with no deal and we have to go into a negotiation with those on the other side knowing that’s what we think.

“But of course we want to come to a full and comprehensive deal with the European Union.”

Such a deal would benefit both the UK and EU and “the only reason we would not come to a free and open agreement is because politics get in the way of economics”.

Fox stressed that leaving the EU meant quitting the single market and customs union as he was pressed over whether the UK could stay inside those arrangements as part of a transitional deal.

“If we are to have an implementation phase between leaving the European Union and our final settlement, I don’t have a problem with that.

“But I do think we have to leave the EU first of all to keep faith with the voters who instructed us to do that.”

He added: “You cannot leave the European Union and be in the single market or the customs union.”

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