Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, just dropped another big hint that Britain is heading for a “hard Brexit.”
The term hard Brexit is used to describe a deal whereby Britain would pull out of the European single market, which in turn would allow the government to end the free movement of people.
Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham which Business Insider attended, Fox, who campaigned for Leave said the British government would prioritise ending “uncontrolled” migration during Brexit talks.
“If you look at the referendum, it’s very clear that the public wanted an end to uncontrolled migration. That was the clear message and we have to accept that,” he said.
“If you ask the British public whether they think migration can be a good thing, generally they will say yes.
“That’s because they see people who come here and contribute to our economy as a positive thing and people who come here to consume our economy as a bad thing. I don’t think that’s an irrational view to take.”
Theresa May announced on Sunday morning that she intends to trigger Article 50 by March 2017. This means the plan is for Britain to have officially completed its formal exit by March 2019.
Fox refused to talk about specific dates when asked whether he felt government and Whitehall could meet this tight schedule.”What we want is the best exit for UK — not the quickest. I wouldn’t put a time scale on it and I think that’s one of the cards we have in our negotiations.
“We can’t have a line-by-line discussion with the public about it. If we keep on giving away our hand it would be impossible,” he added.
Earlier this week, Nissan’s Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said the company will not be investing any more money in the northeast city of Sunderland until May clarifies what Britain’s post-Brexit trade relationship with the EU will be.
Fox was asked whether this was an example of big businesses being put off from investing in Britain due to the prospect of a hard Brexit.
“I have spoken to a number of CEOs and my point is why do they invest in the UK?”
“They come because we have law which provides both stability and certainty. That is a very attractive thing. We have a very skilled workforce; we have good access to a strong research base; we have a low regulation economy; we are in the right time zone for trading. All of these things are independent of the EU.
“If it’s not going to be Britain — where are you going choose?”
Fox also tearfully revealed that he was emotional on the night of the referendum and paid tribute to Brits who “took on the doomsayers” and “believed in what Britain can do” as an independent state.
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