Liam Fox risked creating a new Cabinet rift today – by refusing to reciprocate a compliment from the PM that she would want to be stranded with him on a desert island.
The International Trade Secretary suggested he would rather take up ‘long distance swimming’ than be cast away with Theresa May.
The joke came as he was grilled about his favoured desert island castaway during an interview.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox told ITV’s Peston programme that he would rather take up ‘long distance swimming’ than be cast away with Theresa May
Theresa May, pictured attending church with husband Philip in her Maidenhead constituency today, said earlier this month that Dr Fox was the Cabinet minister she would choose to be cast away with
Earlier this month, Mrs May identified him as a potential companion as she conducted a radio phone-in.
‘You know what the name that first went through my mind, and maybe it’s just because I’ve had a bad cough, perhaps Dr Liam Fox would be very practical,’ she said.
Dr Fox was asked for his choice on ITV’s Peston programme this morning, with the presenter banning the politician from taking his own wife and reminding of Mrs May’s selection.
But Dr Fox replied: ‘I think in terms of general politics I would take up long distance swimming,’
Dr Fox also struck a defiant tone on the prospect of a ‘no deal’ Brext, saying leaving without an agreement and trading on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms was ‘not exactly a nightmare scenario’.
But he stressed he would ‘prefer to have a deal because it would give greater certainty and almost certainly greater openness’ and said reaching agreement does not need to be complicated if there is political will.
‘I don’t think they’re (the negotiations) difficult in terms of the trade law or the trade negotiations themselves. The difficulty is the politics,’ Dr Fox told ITV’s Peston On Sunday.
‘In other words, how much does the European Commission and the European elite want to punish Britain for having the audacity to use our legal rights to leave the European Union.
Dr Fox also struck a defiant tone on the prospect of a ‘no deal’ Brext, saying leaving without an agreement and trading on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms was ‘not exactly a nightmare scenario’
‘That’s the thing.
‘And what will the price be for the prosperity of European citizens of that decision?
‘I would hope that economic sense would dictate that we put the prosperity agenda of the whole of the European continent in a global context at the top of that agenda not ever closer union, in other words the drive by the Commission towards their political objective which has a near-theological level.’
Dr Fox also dismissed suggestions from French president Emmanuel Macron that ‘secondary players’ in the UK were ‘bluffing’ about the possibility of a no deal outcome because Mrs May did not mention it when she addressed EU leaders over dinner on Thursday.
The International Trade Secretary said Mr Macron was ‘completely wrong about that’ and the Government was working out the potential costs of no deal and how to mitigate them for different industries.