Liam Fox: "I'm All In Favour Of A People's Vote - It's Called A General Election"
19 October 2019, 08:33
The former Tory minister told Andrew Castle that people want to talk about things other than Brexit and a general election is needed to discuss the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
Andrew Castle asked Liam Fox what he thought was going to happen.
Fox replied: Well, it's difficult to know procedurally where we will go, because that's up to the Speaker.
"Of course, there's the possibility that if the Oliver Letwin amendment goes through, we don't get actually conclusion of the process today, which I think will frustrate your listeners even more.
"But what's clear is that we we now have to be clear that we're on the process to leave on the 31st October. It may well be that we have to sit a lot of days and nights to get the necessary legislation through to make that happen.
"But we have to go, we have a democratic duty to leave the European Union. Parliament gave that decision to the people, the people took that decision. It's now our duty to implement it.
Those who say that they're against this deal when they really mean they're against any deal need to start being honest with the British people."
He continued: "The second reason is it allows us to move to the second part of the negotiation, which is our future relationship with the EU which is of course what business worries about more than anything else.
"We spent so much time talking about the divorce, we haven't really talked about life afterwards. And that's the key element.
"I think the other reason that we need to get on with this today is the fact that it allows us to talk about other issues.
So much of our political debates has been taken up by Brexit, that I think people feel that there's not enough conversation about other things."
Andrew Castle then asked: "What would be wrong with a confirmatory referendum?"
Fox responded: "So Parliament decided that it couldn't make up its mind about the European issue so it would ask the British public to make the decision in principle about leaving but the Parliament would make the decisions about how we left.
"And that was a clear distinction between direct democracy in the referendum and representative democracy, which is what we traditionally have in this country.
"I'm all in favour of a people's vote - it's called a general election. And once we've got this through, then we can have a general election and talk about our future relationship with Europe and we can talk about this range of other issues.
And what I find bizarre is when people say we want a people's vote, but we don't want the general election. In other words, they want democracy but only on the the narrowly defined terms that they have."
Andrew Castle then asked: "Is No Deal finished as a possibility?"
Fox replied: "No, because ultimately it's not up to the United Kingdom whether No Deal is the outcome. It has become increasingly apparent that the French and others recently have started to take the view that this process needs to come to a conclusion.
"And when colleagues vote in the House of Commons today, they cannot continue this game of continually putting off a decision and they have to recognise that if they don't vote for the Prime Minister's agreement, which frankly, I think the best agreement we're going to get.
If they don't vote for that, then the EU may apply a No Deal solution, which would not be ideal for the UK."