Liam Fox pinpoints exactly why the Leave vote won in 2016 – ‘Remainers lack courage’
The Tory MP pointed out that Europhiles trying to defy the will of the people by overthrowing Brexit failed to make the case for staying in the EU during the 2016 referendum debate. But rather Remainers made the case against Brexit. His remarks come as desperate Remainers rally round in their bid to bring down a no deal Brexit.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing for a showdown with pro-Remain MPs who are threatening to block his plans to take the UK out of the EU by October 31 with or without a deal.
MPs are reported to be planning to hijack a motion on restoring the Northern Ireland executive, due to take place on September 9, to seize control of the House of Commons agenda, according to the Financial Times.
But Mr Fox said it is “worth reminding ourselves why staying in the EU would be bad for Britain”.
He said: “It is also worth remembering that, in the referendum itself, the Remainers only ever made the case against Brexit and never had the courage to make the case for staying in the EU.
“Their reasons were clear: they knew that the one thing that was not on offer in 2016 was the status quo.
“Either we took control of our own future or we would be incorporated into a Europe that was determined to press on with ever-closer union.”
Mr Fox, the former trade secretary under Theresa May’s government, said the appointment of Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission president proved “political, economic and security integration” in the bloc was not “slowing down”.
The prominent Brexiteer also warned the EU’s ambitions for defence, including an EU Army, were not an “instrument of security” but more a “vanity project, albeit a dangerous one”.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron is attempting to push forward his plans for the further amalgamation of the bloc with the role of a new eurozone finance minister.
He plans to ratchet up the federalisation of the 60-year-old bloc’s core economies with a eurozone finance minister, who would manage a common budget that would be accountable to a eurozone parliament.
Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Mr Fox said: “What influence would Britain have in such a set-up?
“All this is happening while nationalism and political fragmentation are on the increase, most recently witnessed at the European Parliamentary elections.
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“Yet there is no sign of the integrationists slowing down. Quite the opposite.
“It would be a tragedy if an institution that was set up to counter the threat of nationalism in Europe was, as a result of its own inflexibility, to reignite such notions.
“If the integrationists break, it is because they will not bend. This is not where Britain’s future lies.”
Mr Fox said the UK and EU had a “profoundly different approach to the world,” adding:“Unlike so many of our European friends, we have never felt the need to bury our 20th-century history in a pan-European project – a project where the integration of European nation states is designed to sap them of their unique identity in order to minimise the risk they might pose to one another.”
Mr Fox’s remarks comes as former Chancellor Philip Hammond warned Mr Johnson he would be committing a betrayal of the referendum if he enacted a no-deal Brexit by listening to the “unelected” saboteurs “who pull the strings” of his Government,
Remainer Mr Hammond, who resigned in anticipation of Mr Johnson becoming Prime Minister, urged the Tory leader to take the UK out of the European Union with a deal in place.
But he said early signs for that “are not encouraging”, warning that demands to abolish the backstop had become a “wrecking” stance over a deal.
The Tory backbencher wrote in The Times: “The unelected people who pull the strings of this Government know that this is a demand the EU cannot and will not accede to.”
Mr Hammond said he was busting two “great myths” over a no-deal Brexit, arguing it will be damaging to the nation – both economically and to the union – and that voters do not back the move.
He added: “Most people in this country want to see us leave in a smooth and orderly fashion that will not disrupt lives, cost jobs or diminish living standards, whether they voted Leave or Remain in 2016.
“Parliament faithfully reflects the view of that majority and it will make its voice heard. No-deal would be a betrayal of the 2016 referendum result. It must not happen.”
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