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- Eurosceptic minister Liam Fox claims there is an “obsession” with criticising Brexit.
- In a column, he wrote that he gets the impression pro-Remainers “would rather see Britain fail that see Brexit succeed.”
- Last year, he accused British businesses of being insufficiently enthusiastic about international trade.
Government minister Liam Fox has hit out at critics of Brexit, arguing there is an “obsession” with criticising the process and that “it is easy to get the impression that these people would rather see Britain fail than see Brexit succeed.”
In a column for conservative website Conservative Home, the secretary of state for international trade argued that perceptions of Brexit in Britain are at odds with what he is seeing abroad and that it presents a new opportunity for British trade and investment.
Fox, a Eurosceptic who campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union, wrote that the pro-Remain camp needs to shift its approach: “Attitudes need to change as we go into 2018; Brexit is not a time bomb to be defused, but a great opportunity to be embraced.
“Our international competitors are already out there trying to carve out their slice of the world’s growing markets. We need to get beyond the obsession with criticising Brexit, lift our horizons, and be out there, too.”
In November 2017, Fox accused British businesses of not being enthusiastic enough about global trade, saying Britain must “get more of our companies to think about exporting overseas.” But his remarks were slapped down by Downing Street, with Theresa May’s spokesperson insisting the UK has “a good record for exports.”
Fox has said that the UK will have free trade agreements ready to go almost immediately after Britain leaves the European Union. “I hear people saying ‘oh we won’t have any [free trade agreements] before we leave’. Well, believe me, we’ll have up to 40 ready for one second after midnight in March 2019,” he claimed in October 2017.
He returned to the subject in his Conservative Home column, writing that “our departmental priority in 2018 will be to ensure that we do all the work necessary so that we continue to benefit from the free trade agreements that the EU already has with other countries and that we maintain full access in both directions at the point at which we leave.”
Earlier on Tuesday, it was reported that the UK government wants the European Union to give it a transition deal after it exits the EU even if negotiations on the UK and the EU’s future relationship collapse.