DIT – TRADE OPPORTUNITIES OUTSIDE THE EU – 8 September 2016

Dr Julian Lewis: What new trade opportunities has the Secretary of State identified as a consequence of the UK voting to leave the EU?

[The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade (Dr Liam Fox): We will continue to be a powerful advocate for free trade by playing to Britain’s strengths as a trading nation and forging our own new trade deals around the world. ​Fifty-six per cent. of our export value and two thirds of inward investment projects are with non-EU countries. My Department has the experience and expertise in trading outside the EU to grow our significance as a global trading nation even further.]

Dr Lewis: In order to maximise the benefits of leaving the EU, the Prime Minister has appointed three excellent Cabinet Ministers to run the Department for International Trade, the Foreign Office and the Department for Exiting the European Union. Can the Secretary of State assure us that the machinery exists to enable them to follow the example of their illustrious predecessors by adopting the mantra “All for one and one for all”?

[Dr Fox: That is a difficult one! I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his question. I am reticent about indulging in personality politics but I am glad to see that he was as able to read the August press as I was. When it comes to our commitment to delivering on Brexit, he can be in no doubt that we will be working together as a tight team to ensure that that happens as soon as we can achieve it on behalf of our country, having made all the necessary preparations.

Mr Speaker: I am sure we all remember Tony Benn’s adage that it is not about personalities but about the issues.]