Chances of Britain not leaving the European Union are now zero, says Fox

Theresa May's knife-edge parliamentary win allowed her to wrap up months of acrimonious debate over the EU (Withdrawal) Bill
Chances of Britain not leaving the European Union are now zero, says Fox
UK's International Trade Secretary Liam Fox Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
By AFP
Thu 21 Jun 2018 07:52 PM

The British government's crucial Brexit vote victory this week means there is now "zero" chance of stopping the country from leaving the European Union, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said Thursday.

Fox was speaking at a trade forum in Geneva, the day after Prime Minister Theresa May saw off a rebellion by pro-European MPs on a flagship draft law by offering last-minute reassurances over the role parliament would play if she fails to reach a Brexit deal.

"We took a decisive step last night in legislation that will now pave the way irrevocably for Britain's exit from the European Union," Fox told the Graduate Institute in Geneva.

"So lest anyone is any doubt, the chances of Britain not leaving the European Union are now zero," he added.

May's knife-edge parliamentary win allowed her to wrap up months of acrimonious debate over the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which sets the legal framework for Brexit and can now finally become law.

Turning to trade, Fox delivered a full-throated defence of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which has faced unprecedented attacks from US President Donald Trump.

Washington's protectionist tariffs targeting allies like the EU and Canada, as well China, have triggered a dizzying flurry of WTO legal challenges.

The Trump administration has said it will ignore any WTO rulings that contradict American interests.

Fox vowed that Britain will be "one of the foremost champions of multilateral trading system," governed by the WTO, while noting that London's role at the Geneva-based body is set to change dramatically.

"The United Kingdom will soon be regaining our independent voice at the WTO after being silent for 43 years," he said, referring to the fact that Britain will no longer be a member of the EU delegation.

"We will have quite a lot to say and we will be re-emerging as a dynamic and active player," he said.

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