According to Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, the most likely outcome of the Brexit negotiations is the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a deal. His statement comes amid the growing fears of a chaotic departure from the bloc.
During an interview with the Sunday Times, Fox said that there is a three-in-five probability of a “no deal” Brexit in which the trade relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union defaults to the terms of the World Trade Organisation.
Fox stated: “I have never thought it was much more than 50-50, certainly not much more than 60-40.” However, he added that the “intransigence” from the European Commission is “pushing us towards no deal.”
The warnings of the likelihood of a no deal being reached have heightened during the past weeks since Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, revealed the plan of the Cabinet regarding the post-Brexit trade that was agreed at Chequers, the country house. The Chequers plan provoked a rebellion from some of the ministers who supported the Brexit campaign in the EU referendum, with Boris Johnson and David Davis among the ministers and aides who have filed their resignation.
Business groups in the City and beyond have been nearly unanimous that a “no deal” Brexit would cause harm to them. Last Friday, Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, said that the United Kingdom and the European Union should “do all things to avoid” negotiations falling through. He added that the possibilities of a “no deal” are “uncomfortably high.”
Fox, however, informed the Sunday Times that it was “essential” to have a no deal as an option to improve the negotiating leverage of the United Kingdom.
He stated: “If our message on ‘no deal’ is becoming more credible and resonating with those we are negotiating with in Europe, then our negotiating hand is getting stronger every day and we shouldn’t do anything to undermine that.”