Britain’s Secretary of State for International Trade has warned that if politicians refuse to respect the people’s vote for Brexit it could unleash a “political tsunami” with “unknowable consequences” for the stability of the realm.
Cabinet Brexiteer Liam Fox wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that “failure to deliver Brexit would produce a yawning gap between Parliament and the people, a schism in our political system with unknowable consequences.”
Dr Fox’s intervention was inspired by the latest edition of the BBC Question Time programme, in which Brexit-supporting journalist Isabel Oakeshott — outnumbered four-to-one on the panel, as is common for Brexiteers appearing on broadcast media — received cheers and applause from the studio audience for saying said Theresa May should “walk away” from negotiations with an intransigent EU and pursue a clean, No Deal exit.
“The reaction of the Question Time audience could become a political tsunami. It is time for MPs to deliver on the promises they made,” Fox suggested.
“It is a matter of honour and a matter of duty.”
Listening again this morning to the applause from Question Time audience to prospect of no deal with EU and trading on WTO terms. It’s the only true way to protect #Brexit our sovereignty and future trade deals with rest of world plus retaining £39 billion for public services https://t.co/mMoYKsTeRb
— Daniel Kawczynski (@DKShrewsbury) January 19, 2019
Fox also slammed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for insisting he will not hold discussions with the Prime Minister on how to break the parliamentary impasse on Brexit unless she rules out No Deal and rules in a permanent customs union with the EU, noting that the former demand would give the bloc no incentive to offer anything but a terrible deal, and the latter demand would prevent Britain from taking back control of its trade policy.
“It is simply not possible to pursue an independent trade policy from inside the Customs Union as we could not determine our own tariffs and our financial services industry would be exposed to a rapidly evolving body of EU regulation over which we would have no influence,” the trade secretary explained.
Indeed, commentators have warned that membership of either the European Union Customs Union or a permanent customs union with the EU would leave the United Kingdom at the mercy of the bloc, which would be able to both drag it into trade wars with third countries and a force it to allow third countries privileged access to the British market on disadvantageous terms, according to their own commercial interests.
Brussels would also be able to both raise and reduce tariffs on non-EU goods in Britain, and receive a large part of the revenue from said tariffs — which many Brexiteers argue violates the principle of “no taxation without representation”.
You can see why the EU wants a customs union: it would keep privileged access to British consumers, freeze out competition and hold the massive UK market as a bargaining chip in trade talks with third countries. But why are we contemplating this nonsense? https://t.co/DORjn43kyQ
— Daniel Hannan (@DanielJHannan) October 11, 2018
“Like other government departments across Whitehall, the Department for International Trade is increasing its No Deal planning, but hoping a deal can be reached,” Fox added.
“Despite what Corbyn seems to believe, it is not possible to take ‘No Deal’ off the table for, if agreement is not reached, the law as it stands would mean that the European treaties no longer apply to the UK after 29th March… as a businessman told me in Bristol on Friday ‘I’ve spent my entire life in business negotiating. It is the most stupid thing possible to do to give away your strongest card’.”
Revealing words from Michel Barnier in 2016, quoted in @LePoint. "I would have succeeded in my task if, in the end, the deal is so hard on the British that they’ll prefer staying in the EU.” https://t.co/G7aw0RAAjF pic.twitter.com/XNn22Aeqkc
— Owen Paterson MP (@OwenPaterson) January 19, 2019