Liam Fox is Britain’s preferred candidate to lead the World Trade Organisation

PUBLISHED: 13:20 22 June 2020 | UPDATED: 11:56 23 June 2020

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

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

PA Archive/PA Images

Disgraced former defence secretary Liam Fox - also sacked by Boris Johnson as trade secretary - is being lined up as Britain’s preferred candidate to lead the World Trade Organisation.

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The Times reports Fox leads the nominations to take the post with Tory backbenchers after he remained loyal to Johnson despite losing his post under the prime minister.

The Brexiteer 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.

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Fox is in competition with former Labour minister and EU trade commissioner Peter Mandleson, but the former Labour MP would need the backing of Downing Street and the Tories, so is unlikely to be successful.

The nomination comes as the UK prepares to end the Brexit transition period and seek to sign new post-Brexit trade deals with countries around the world.

Some Brexiteers are keen for Britain to ditch a possible trade deal with the EU and seek an exit under World Trade Organisation rules.

Typically it acts as an adjudicator over trade disputes, but has struggled since Donald Trump blocked the appointment of any US judges to its appellate body.

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.

Nominations look set to close on July 8, with the EU yet to decide who it will propose.

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