The day collective responsibility died: Fox warns May of Brexit "betrayal"

PUBLISHED: 11:59 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 20:52 27 July 2018

Disgraced former defence secretary Liam Fox

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Liam Fox has been accused of "burning collective responsibility to the ground" after he issued a stark warning to Theresa May over Brexit negotiations

Dr Fox warned the prime minister that extending talks would be a "complete betrayal," of Brexit voters, telling Business Insider that she should commit to instead leaving the EU with no deal instead.

The international trade secretary told the website that if, at the end of Article 50 talks, there was no deal in place, the UK government should crash out, rather than request more negotiating time.

Asked whether the UK should seek to extend negotiations if no deal was secured by the time Britain is due to leave next March, the disgraced former defence secretary said that Mrs May should instead "leave without a deal."

He said: "The public have told us, it wasn't a consultation, to leave the European Union, and the public already wonders why it's going to take more than four years after the referendum for us to fully remove ourselves from the EU.

"To attempt to extend our membership even longer, many voters would regard as a complete betrayal by the political class, and I think they would be right."

He accused the EU of pushing Britain towards a no-deal scenario, saying that "if [the EU] keep saying no to everything they will end up with no deal".

Labour MP Virendra Sharma MP, a champion of the campaign group Best for Britain, which is campaigning for a second referendum, said that the government had "had more negotiating positions than the kama sutra on Brexit".


He said: "Last week the foreign secretary warned that the British public would blame the EU for a no deal outcome, but now we're back to the haggard old line 'no deal is better than a bad deal'.

"I know it's hot, but this is the day collective responsibility burned to the ground.

"Fox said that a deal with the EU would be the easiest in history. If that's true then he's woefully incompetent at his job, because he's absolutely bombing at his job."

Last year Dr Fox said a post-Brexit deal with the EU would be “the easiest in human history”. He said: “We are already beginning with zero tariffs, and we are already beginning at the point of maximal regulatory equivalence, as it is called. In other words, our rules and our laws are exactly the same.”

Yesterday the EU's chief negotiator ruled out allowing the UK to collect customs duties on its behalf, a key UK proposal for post-Brexit trade.

Michel Barnier said the UK wanted to "take back control" of its money, law and borders - but so did the EU.

The EU would not delegate "excises duty collection to a non-member", he said.

But in his Business Insider interview, Dr Fox insisted that the prime minister's Chequers plan was not dead and accused the EU of putting "political ideology" before both a Brexit deal and the wellbeing on EU citizens.

"They [the EU] simply don't want to make this particular method work," he said.

"So it's clear that it is possible, but it requires political will to do so. The question will be whether the EU 27 leaders are willing to see the Commission's political ideology put ahead of the economic well-being of the people of Europe."

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