Liam Fox Criticises his Department’s Former Permanent Secretary

Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for Trade, has attacked Sir Martin Donnelly, the former Permanent Secretary at the same department, following the former civil servant’s concerns over leaving the customs union. Fox, who made his own speech today, said that it wants to do free trade deals with other countries.

Donnelly, who has expressed concerns before about leaving the single market, said that the EU market was a substantial one and that leaving the customs union was “rather like rejecting a three course meal now in favour of the promise of a packet of crisps later”.

Fox responded to Donnelly’s comments saying:

“I understand that those who have been professionally committed to those for many years would want to adhere to them. I want to think beyond where we are today, to the opportunities available for the future”.

He later added:

“It’s unsurprising that those who spend a lifetime working in the European Union see moving away from the European Union as being threatening”.

Fox had earlier said in his speech:

“We require an economic outlook that allows us to take advantage of the substantial opportunities that Europe will continue to bring but without limiting our ability to adapt to a changing and growing world beyond the European continent.

The UK is perfectly placed to partner with the economic powerhouses of the future, and they in turn are eager for the mutual prosperity that such a partnership would bring. To do this, we need the ability to exercise a fully independent trade policy. We have to maximise our overall trading opportunities for the UK and secure the prosperity of our people”.