Saturday 21 September 2019

Push for Irish reunification a 'real threat' of a no-deal Brexit, says UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox

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

A push for Irish reunification and Scottish independence are "real threats" of a no-deal Brexit, UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said.

The Brexiteer is backing Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the race to become prime minister.

Both Mr Hunt and rival Boris Johnson have threatened to take the UK out of the EU without a deal if a fresh one cannot be brokered.

READ MORE: Majority would now back a united Ireland - with support highest in the Border region, says poll

Dr Fox was challenged on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on whether a badly handled EU exit without a deal could lead to Scottish independence and a border poll to reunite the island of Ireland.

He said: "We know they are both real threats, there's no point in pretending they're not there.

READ MORE: John Bruton: 'Why there is no longer any realistic prospect of the EU taking Britain on trust over Brexit'

"And therefore we have to put in place the details of what a no-deal would look like, including how we protect crucial industries like fishing and farming and how we deal with small businesses.

"It's not good enough to simply say we are going to have a no-deal; we need to prepare about it, that's what government is all about."

Former foreign secretary Mr Johnson has pledged Britain will leave the EU by October 31 "do or die", but said he believes the chances of a no-deal Brexit are a "million-to-one against".

READ MORE: Japan warns UK prime minister hopefuls Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt against no-deal Brexit

Mr Hunt has argued it is a "fake deadline" and that if a deal is close he would be prepared to ask for a delay.

Both are firmly against any break-up of the UK, while Mr Johnson has argued that a well-performed Brexit could "cement and intensify" the union.

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