Liam Fox warns Theresa May that EU elections will lead to 50 'disruptive and resentful' British MEPs

Posted On: 
21st April 2019

Liam Fox has warned that Britain will end up fielding scores of "disruptive and resentful" members of the European Parliament if it has to take part in Europe-wide elections next month.

The International Trade Secretary warned MPs that they risked Britain's 'democratic credentials' by refusing to back Theresa May's Brexit deal.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, the International Trade Secretary also cautioned Theresa May against agreeing membership of an EU customs union with Labour's Jeremy Corbyn - saying it would undermine promises to voters that Brexit meant "taking back control".

Britain is currently slated to take part in the 23 May elections to the European Parliament after the Prime Minister was handed a six-month Brexit delay by EU leaders.

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Mrs May has insisted that Britain could still swerve the EU vote if MPs get behind an EU agreement by 22 May.

Bur Dr Fox - a leading Brexiteer in the Cabinet - said Brussels was now risking Britain having "an effect on the formation of the next [European] Commission”.

And he warned: "The last thing our European partners want are 50 disruptive and resentful UK MEPs."

The International Trade Secretary - speaking on a trip to Iraq - told the Sunday Telegraph that MPs risked undermining Britain's "basic democratic credentials" by repeatedly refusing to back Mrs May's Brexit deal.

And he dismissed Labour's demand for Britain to join a permanent customs union with the European Union - something Brexiteers have long warned would hobble key campaign promises to give the UK its own independent trade policy once it quits the EU.

Dr Fox said: "The EU would be able to negotiate access to the UK market as part of its market offer in a trade negotiation, irrespective of whether it was good for Britain or not … we would be being traded.

"Just how that in any way, shape or form equates with taking back control is beyond my understanding."

The intervention from one of the Cabinet's leading Leave-supporters came as an ORB poll for the Sunday Telegraph put the Conservatives three points behind Labour.

According to he study, the newly-formed Brexit Party - headed up by former Ukip leader Nigel Farage - would gain 14% of the vote if an election were held tomorrow, while the Conservatives would trail Labour on 26% to 29% respectively.