Trade

UK trade secretary: Extending Brexit talks would be complete betrayal

U.K. Trade Secretary Liam Fox warned Prime Minister Theresa May not to extend Brexit negotiations, claiming that doing so would amount to a “complete betrayal” of Brexit voters.

May should “leave without a deal” if an agreement is not reached by March 2019 deadline he said in an interview with Business Insider published today.

“The public have told us, it wasnt a consultation, to leave the European Union, and the public already wonders why its going to take more than four years after the referendum for us to fully remove ourselves from the EU,” Fox said, adding that voters would be “right” to feel betrayed.

Fox, who campaigned for Brexit, also accused the EU of putting “political ideology” above concerns for citizens “well-being” and pushing Britain toward a no-deal scenario by dismissing Mays customs proposal.

“[The EU] simply dont want to make [Mays customs proposal] work,” Fox said. “So its 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 Commissions political ideology put ahead of the economic well-being of the people of Europe.”

The EUs chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, on Thursday said Brussels would not allow the U.K. to collect EU tariffs after Brexit, a key element of Mays customs proposal and her efforts to overcome the biggest obstacles to completing a withdrawal agreement.

Fox warned that the EU must show more flexibility in negotiations and could not “keep rejecting things without telling us exactly what it is they want” if the bloc wants to avoid a no-deal scenario.

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