Liam Fox: MPs who block Brexit ‘deserve to be punished’ at the ballot box
MPs who attempt to block Brexit deserve to be punished at the ballot box, Cabinet minister Liam Fox has said.
The International Trade Secretary blasted colleagues in his own party for giving Theresa May a “very difficult hand” in negotiations and said some of his colleagues could face a “difficult time” with voters.
Some Tory MPs like Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston have joined the campaign to push for a second Brexit referendum, while others like Nick Boles have sought to block a no-deal departure from the EU.
Dr Fox laid bare the struggles the Prime Minister has been faced with on Brexit - and noted that some on her own backbenches have made the negotiations more difficult.
He told the Sophy Ridge show on Sky News that she had "not only been negotitaing with the European Union at times - she has been negotiating with her own party".
And he added: “I wish more people in our parliament would do what they were elected to do which was to fulfil the promise they made to honour that referendum."
Asked if he thought MPs attempting to frustrate Brexit could be punished at the ballot box, he replied: “Well 80% of MPs in this parliament were elected on a manifesto, either Labour or Conservative, promising to honour the result of the referendum.
“Those who got elected on that promise and then don’t follow it through once they get to Parliament I think will have a difficult time with the voters the next time, and if that happens then they deserve it.”
Elsewhere, Dr Fox became the latest Cabinet minister to admit that Brexit could be delayed - but only if a deal is struck between the UK and the EU.
Mrs May has insisted that she will deliver Brexit “on time” despite warnings that the UK will need to seek an extension in order to process the legislation required to implement it - assuming a deal is struck.
Dr Fox said he would not want to see Brexit delayed if there were no deal, but added: “If we have an agreement and it takes a little more time to get the legislation through to make that as smooth as possible - I thank that’s a different argument.”
He also offered a blunt "no" when asked if he could stomach signing the UK up to a customs union in order to get a deal with the EU, arguing that to do so would not respect the outcome of the referendum.