European Union pushing Britain towards no-deal Brexit — Liam Fox

Brexit news Theresa May

There is a three-in-five chance of a "no deal" Brexit in which UK-EU trade defaults to World Trade Organisation terms, Fox said in an interview with the Sunday Times.

It came amid fears that plans to publish details of what to do in the event of a no-deal Brexit could provoke a rush of people trying to secure global driving permits and new documentation so that their pets can travel.

"I think the intransigence of the commission is pushing us towards no deal", he said.

He said: "If our message on "no deal" is becoming more credible and resonating with those we are negotiating with in Europe, then our negotiating hand is getting stronger every day and we shouldn't do anything to undermine that".

The government has been touting its plans for Brexit agreed at Chequers - the prime minister's country residence in Buckinghamshire - to the European Union and its leaders, including the French President Emanuel Macron, whom Theresa May met on Friday.

Mr Fox said he believed the risk of a no-deal scenario had increased, pinning the blame on the European Commission and Brussels' chief negotiator Michel Barnier. He put the chance of Britain crashing out without a deal at 60 percent.

But shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said Prime Minister Theresa May's "reckless red lines" had contributed to the difficulties, along with splits in the Tory ranks and "fantasy Brexiteer promises". "Parliament has a duty to prevent it".


Former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan said keeping the United Kingdom in the single market as part of the European Economic Area (EEA) or European Free Trade Association was "clearly (the) right option" adding "will PM move that way or does Parliament have to force issue?"

In a bid to agree a deal, Mrs May cut her holiday short on Friday to meet France's Emmanuel Macron to seek support for her Brexit plans. But economists say many companies are unprepared.

Dr Fox said the "theological obsession of the unelected" in Brussels was standing in the way of a deal being agreed because it was taking "priority over the economic wellbeing of the people of Europe".

Her finance minister Phillip Hammond, a Remain supporter in the 2016 referendum, supports close alignment but others such as Mr Fox want Britain to have a "hard Brexit" so it can try to make deals with other countries outside of the EU.

She wrote: "It will leave us half in and half out, still bound to European Union regulations and constraints".

Pushed on what no deal would mean for people, Mr Carney said "disruption to trade as we know it" before adding: "As a outcome of that, a disruption to the level of economic activity, higher prices for a period of time".

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