Liam Fox demands an end to 'obsession with criticising Brexit'
Liam Fox has fired a New Year’s message to pro-European campaigners, telling them to “get beyond the obsession with criticising Brexit”.
The International Trade Secretary said his experiences travelling abroad did not tally with the “wave of negativism” about leaving the EU among some in the UK.
In a piece for ConservativeHome, Dr Fox suggested it was “easy to get the impression that these people would rather see Britain fail than see Brexit succeed”.
He pointed to the highest ever level of foreign direct investment in the UK last year, coupled with an increase in exports of both goods and services as evidence that the future was bright for Brexit Britain.
“One of my most frequent, and frustrating, experiences of 2017 was returning from a positive and optimistic international visit only to encounter a wave of negativism at home,” Dr Fox writes.
“The interest being shown in Britain overseas, and an increasing willingness to trade and invest with us, was in stark contrast to the self-defeating pessimism that is too often on show from certain politicians, commentators and media outlets over here.”
“Attitudes need to change as we go into 2018,” he adds.
“Brexit is not a time bomb to be defused, but a great opportunity to be embraced.
“Our international competitors are already out there trying to carve out their slice of the world’s growing markets.
“We need to get beyond the obsession with criticising Brexit, lift our horizons, and be out there, too.”
His intervention comes as David Davis is apparently preparing to hit back at critics with a keynote speech on his own approach to Brexit.
Theresa May is also reportedly working on a third major speech on Europe to follow those she made at Lancaster House in January 2017 and in Florence last September.
But the Government faces a race against time to secure agreement on the future trading relationship, with the EU making clear talks will only begin in March.
Agreement would then have to be wrapped up in the autumn to give enough time for a deal to be ratified by the 27 other member states.