Liam Fox has said leaving the European Union without a deal will be “survivable”.
The international trade secretary told Sophy Ridge on Sunday that it would not be in Britain’s best interest to leave without a deal in place with the European Union, and admitted it could put the economy “into a position of unnecessary turmoil”.
But he suggested the country would still exist and we won’t all literally die if Theresa May can’t secure a deal MPs can agree on.
Dr Fox claimed during the Brexit referendum campaign a deal with the EU would be the “easiest in human history”.
But he has since downgraded his expectations.
Last month he said a no deal Brexit wouldn’t be “a national suicide”.
And he said it wasn’t going to be as bad as Dunkirk, in which 338,226 troops had to be evacuated amid fear of death.
He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge: “If WTO was so good people wouldn’t be looking to have trade agreements or customs unions which are ways in which you can further improve on those WTO rules.
“It has always seemed to me a bit strange that people would say ‘well we don’t need to worry about having a future trade deal with Europe, we can operate on WTO terms’, while at the same time saying we should have a free trade agreement with the United States to get away from WTO rules. We have to be consistent.”
Dr Fox said: “It’s survivable but we wouldn’t want to put our economy into a state of unnecessary turmoil.”
He added: “We would be able to deal with that scenario but it wouldn’t be in our interest to go there.
“It seems to me we have got to guard against two things. One is an irrational pessimism that says that everything will be a catastrophe and irrational optimism which says everything will be ok.
“The truth lies between the two.”
Dr Fox hinted he could support a delay to Brexit in the right circumstances.
He’s previously spoken out against an extension to the Article 50 period.
But he told Sophy Ridge: “That was in the context of us not having reached an agreement (with the EU) and simply extending the time. I don’t think that solves anything.
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