The International Trade Secretary has blasted Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to keep the UK tied to a European Union (EU) customs union whilst shunning a trade deal with the U.S. and other large economies as a “sell-out of Britain’s interests”.
Dr. Liam Fox pointed out the arrangement would leave the UK unable to take advantage of future trade opportunities with growing markets, and keep the UK tied to the rules of the EU’s economy as it shrinks in terms global GDP share.
It would be a “betrayal of the voters in the referendum”, Dr. Fox added.
“As rule takers, without any say in how the rules were made, we would be in a worse position than we are today. It would be a complete sell-out of Britain’s national interests,” he said in a speech at Bloomberg in London on Tuesday.
Dr. Fox dismissed Mr. Corbyn’s claim the UK would get a “bespoke” deal from the EU, giving it the freedom to trade, explaining that the UK would have to cede “considerable control” of its trade policy to Brussels in any customs union.
— Department for International Trade (@tradegovuk) February 27, 2018
UKIP’s interim leader Leader Gerard Batten made a similar argument Monday, also using the word “betrayal”. He said in a statement:
“What Labour are demanding is nothing more than a fantasy ‘Unicorn’ Brexit, where everybody thinks they will receive everything on their wish list, while no serious thought is given to what is actually achievable without revoking the European Communities Act.
“Labour’s argument has about as much chance of convincing the EU as it does of fooling the 4 million 2017 Labour voters who voted to leave.
“This includes the millions of people who have in the past voted UKIP as the guarantor of Brexit, particularly in the Midlands and the North; who are being betrayed by those who pretend to speak for them.
“The simple fact is that the British people voted to Leave the EU, which in turn is about leaving the Customs Union and the Internal Market as was said time and again during the referendum debate. Not to do so would be a betrayal of the largest ever vote in the UK’s history.”