Tuesday 20 August 2019

Brexit: Fox insists the NHS and food standards will be protected in any post-Brexit trade deal with the US

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Press Association

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has insisted the NHS and food standards will be protected in any post-Brexit trade deal with the US.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Trade agreements generally have provisions about the regulation of public services... provisions to ensure governments retain control of public regulation, including the NHS."

Liam Fox (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Liam Fox (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

On issues such as chlorinated chicken or hormone treated beef, he added: "We have made very clear that without exception imports into the UK must meet the UK's stringent food standards and that is not going to change."

Accepting that the UK having different regulatory standards from the EU would mean border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic, Mr Fox said a Brexit deal was his preferred option.

He added: "Equally if we can't get an agreement we have to be willing to walk away, otherwise we have no real negotiating hand.

"I think the prospect of a no deal might well be used by those who seek to break up the UK, to use that as a weapon in that particular battle, both I think in Northern Ireland and potentially in Scotland."

Liam Fox is unlikely to keep his promise (PA)
Liam Fox is unlikely to keep his promise (PA)

Mr Fox said he was backing "my friend" Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative leadership contest.

Security Minister Ben Wallace has declined to back his former leadership favourite Boris Johnson during an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Having previously threatened to go "Game Of Thrones" on Michael Gove after he scuppered Mr Johnson's bid to become leader in 2016, this time around Mr Wallace said: "I haven't made a decision yet.

"The one thing I have learned from being inside a campaign is we've got another 10 days - your listeners will be dead bored.

"What we do need to do is make sure this race is about getting the right person to lead the country but I'm not going to bang on about it."

PA Media

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