- Liam Fox
- Linkback: Department for International Trade, Atlantic Bridge
- ERG member.
Oct.2018: “As with anything the question is getting it right, not getting it quickly.”
Oct.2016: “I hear people saying ‘oh we won’t have any [free trade agreements] before we leave’. Well believe me we’ll have up to 40 ready for one second after midnight in March 2019.” What they said then and what they’re saying now, The Times, Oliver Wright, Nov.16.2018.
Newly appointed Brexit minister Dominic Raab and environment secretary Michael Gove were active supporters of the ERG before being promoted to cabinet roles ref, while international trade secretary Liam Fox has also used the ERG to gather support among MPs. Tory MP John Redwood, former environment secretary Owen Paterson and new peer Peter Lilley are also members of the ERG and notable climate science deniers. ref See also https://www.desmog.co.uk/liam-fox
- Feb.07.2019: Forget new trade deals – Britain’s struggling to keep the ones it has. Liam Fox said "up to 40 would be ready one second after Brexit". Well, they won’t, and the govt must be honest about it. "Global Britain” advocates often fail to acknowledge the long list of countries the UK already has free trade agreements with, by virtue of its EU membership. Govt trade officials told a group of business executives that even if the UK leaves the EU with a deal, they cannot guarantee that existing EU trade agreements will continue to apply to the UK during the subsequent 2-year transition period. The real problem has been the UK’s lack of transparency, and lack of honesty about the difficulties inherent to the process from the beginning Sam Lowe, The Guardian.
- Feb.06.2019: ‘A special place in hell’: which Brexiters did Tusk have in mind? Another true keeper of the Brexit flame untroubled by anything as inconvenient as reality, the international trade secretary was still blithely assuring anyone who cared to listen even a year after the referendum that the free-trade agreement Britain would be able to strike with the EU would be “one of the easiest in human history”. Jon Henley, The Guardian.
- Dec.02.2018: Liam Fox’s dream of a global Britain hits the rocks. Despite the hype, no country will make a trade alliance until our deal with the EU is clear. Tommy Stubbington, The Times.
- Sept.20.2018: Liam Fox is plotting to scrap EU food standards to win a Brexit trade deal with Trump. Liam Fox is planning to use controversial "Henry VIII" powers to scrap European food standards in order to pave the way for a trade deal with the US after Brexit. Theresa May's government has insisted that they will not water down EU regulations which currently prohibit the sale of products such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef in Britain. However, Fox and Crawford Falconer, the UK's chief trade negotiation adviser, have privately discussed rewriting UK food standards through the upcoming Trade Bill, a source in Fox's Department for International Trade told Business Insider. The Trade Secretary plans to use statutory instruments which allow the government to rewrite parts of legislation without a vote in parliament, in order to alter the bill once it has been voted on by MPs. ... Adam Payne, Ben Gartside, Business Insider.
- Aug.21.2018: Liam Fox's target for post-Brexit exports is wishful thinking. The UK increasing overseas sales to 35% of GDP is a nice idea but too few British firms are onside. Ministers would dearly love Britain to be up there with Germany as a European exporting powerhouse, but have so far failed to learn the right lessons. Put simply, Germany has top quality products that the rest of the world wants to buy. It has an enviable reputation, a competitive currency, finance and industry work in partnership. Seizing opportunities is not a matter of setting Gosplan-like targets. It is not even a matter of signing free trade deals. It is a matter of getting the basics right. Larry Elliott, The Guardian.
- Jul.19.2018: Liam Fox thinks it’s all over and absolute power over trade deals is his. Not yet, Sonny Jim. He thinks he’s done it. The relief on Liam Fox’s face after his govt survived a series of votes on his beloved Trade Bill relatively unscathed was clear. If this really was all over he would have reasons to be happy. After all, as things stand the Trade Bill gives him truly intoxicating amounts of power. If Liam Fox wants to do a dodgy deal with Trump he can just do it. If Liam Fox wants to ruin the NHS by letting US multinationals run chunks of it, he can just do it. If Liam Fox wants to use trade deals to burn health & safety rules in a huge bonfire, he can just do it. But it isn’t over yet. On Tuesday, the House of Commons may have rejected Caroline Lucas’ NC3 amendment on trade democracy 314 to 284. But now it moves to the House of Lords where the government does not have a majority. We are optimistic that the House of Lords will ‘ping pong’ some version of Caroline Lucas’ amendment on trade democracy back to the House of Commons. This is our last chance to stop this awful bill becoming law. And it really is bad despite the government’s attempts to pull the wool over our eyes with last minute ‘concessions’ that were in fact little more than window dressing. Caroline Lucas’ NC3 amendment would have guaranteed a parliamentary vote on every trade deal as well as close formal scrutiny at every stage of negotiations (including the initial negotiating mandate) and a significant role for the devolved administrations. Liam Fox’s ‘concessions’ do not do any of that. You don’t need new primary legislation to introduce corporate courts or even necessarily to allow multinationals to have greater access to the NHS. All of this can still be done on Liam Fox’s say-so from the comfort of his shiny new underground lair (OK probably more likely his parliamentary office). And of course, none of this applies to new deals like any future agreement with Trump or the UK joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (which is essentially the Pacific version of TTIP without the US involved). Alex Scrivener, Global Justice Now.
- Jun.21.2018: Liam Fox caught in fresh “lobbyists as advisers” scandal. Former Legatum trade chief Shanker Singham takes role with commercial lobbying firm – while also advising key Brexit minister Liam Fox. One of Fox’s “committee of experts” has become an advisor to one of the UK’s biggest corporate lobbying firms. Former Legatum trade chief Shanker Singham, described by a former Labour minister as a ‘hard Brexit Svengali’, is now advising PR and lobbying agency Grayling on Brexit and trade. Singham, who has been said to enjoy “unparalleled access” to government ministers, has told openDemocracy that there is “no conflict” between his role as an adviser to trade minister Fox and his new position. Singham is a member of trade minister Liam Fox’s ‘committee of experts’, a 5-person group advising him on trade deals. Singham, a one-time Washington lobbyist, is also a director of the International Trade and Competition Unit at the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), a position he took after he left the controversial think tank Legatum earlier this year. Singham told openDemocracy that he would be remaining on the Brexit minister’s advisory committee and at the IEA. Last week, openDemocracy revealed the extent of Singham’s access to govt ministers since the Brexit vote, showing that he has held dozens of meetings with figures including foreign secretary Boris Johnson, Brexit minister David Davis, as well as Liam Fox. Singham also had undeclared meetings with another Brexit minister, Steve Baker. Tamasin Cave from SpinWatch, which monitors the lobbying industry, compared Singham’s role to the scandal that led to Liam Fox being forced to resign as Defence Secretary in 2011, when it transpired that one of Fox’s closest advisers – Adam Werritty – was being paid by private businesses for his time advising Fox. Cave said: “Singham is simultaneously advising Liam Fox, and has unrivalled access to many other ministers, while at the same time working for a firm that is paid to influence the decisions of ministers. That’s a glaring conflict of interest. Grayling is employing Singham for his insider knowledge and the fact that he has a seat at the table steering the direction of Brexit. Of course their corporate clients are going to benefit from this hire. That's how the commercial lobbying business operates. “That this doesn’t strike the Department for International Trade as a clear conflict of interest is worrying. It is reminiscent of another adviser to Liam Fox that was also funded by an opaque web of private money. The resulting scandal surrounding the then defence secretary's adviser, Adam Werritty, led to Fox’s resignation (in 2011). Is Fox having trouble again seeing the line between adviser and privately-backed lobbyist?” Singham also leads the trade team at the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA). Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said: "The Institute for Economic Affairs has long acted as a paid lobbying agency for the Tobacco Industry. It's very worrying to see one of their staff playing such a key role in shaping Britain's trade deals as we leave the EU." Other than Singham, the trade ministry’s committee of experts comprises prominent Brexit supporting economist Ruth Lea, who is an adviser to the Institute for Economic Affairs; Sunday Telegraph columnist and Brexit supporter Liam Halligan]], Xavier Rolet, former CEO of the London Stock Exchange, and the former Tory MP and Brexit supporter Peter Lilley. Adam Ramsay, Peter Geoghegan, openDemocracy.
- May.15.2018: Trade deal delays will cost £billions in lost tax, says Fox. Fox suggests that Britain’s most important trading partner is no longer the EU, saying that “56% of exports are now to outside the EU, compared with only 46% in 2006. What is more, while our EU exports are still dominated by goods, our non-EU exports are evenly split between goods and services. Yet it is services that present the greatest opportunity to expand Britain’s trade.” Sam Coates, The Times.
- Feb.28.2018: Where has Liam Fox travelled as trade secretary?. The arch-Brexiter has flown further than a trip to the moon – how important were his destinations to UK exports? Fox has travelled to almost 40 different countries since taking over at the Department for International Trade in Jul.2016. Richard Partington, Angela Monaghan, The Guardian.
- Feb.27.2018: Liam Fox says former top civil servant stuck in past for fearing hard Brexit. Martin Donnelly said divergence from EU was like swapping three-course meal for packet of crisps. In Fox’s speech, the case was made for the UK saying out of the Customs Union. Fox criticised the announcement by Jeremy Corbyn in a speech on Monday, that Labour now backed seeking such an arrangement with the EU after Brexit. The Guardian, Peter Walker, Jessica Elgot
- Apr.14.2017: The Birth of Brexit. In 2009, as if to prove that you can never have too much money, Mr Fox, as then Shadow Cabinet Minister, found himself in trouble over a scandal involving expenses which reached far and wide into the corridors of power. Mr Fox was left with the dubious distinction of being the largest, "over-claimer" of expenses in the entire House, which culminated in him having to get his cheque book out and return £20,000. The Dangerous Globe.
- Feb.19.2018: The Fanatical Mr Fox – 10 reasons the trade secretary is a threat to our food, the environment and democracy. (Some good stuff in here) Global Justice Now, Malise Rosbech
- Feb.02.2018: Liam Fox: No customs union with EU after Brexit. "One of the reasons we are leaving the EU is to take control and that's not possible with a common external tariff," international trade secretary says. Politico, Tom McTague
- Jul.20.2017: Liam Fox: EU trade deal after Brexit should be 'easiest in history' to get. International trade secretary tells Today programme the government is not making contingency plans for leaving without deal. Matthew Weaver, The Guardian.
- Apr.14.2017: The Birth of Brexit. Mr Fox might not have been prosecuted for running an organisation as a charity when it clearly wasn’t, but it still shows him to have lousy judgement and business sense in addition to a very relaxed attitude toward right and wrong. As is usual, when you blot your copybook in the Conservative party, there is a promotion lined up for you. Fox got his reward in 2010 when he was appointed Defence Secretary no less, under his old chum David Cameron. During the course of his duties, Fox decided to take his old mate Adam Werritty along with him to stop getting lonely on all those long flights to all those places that need defending and need the weapons to do it with. The MoD folk got a bit twitchy about all this matey-boy nonsense, and especially so when Werritty popped up at meetings as Fox’s adviser, but wasn’t actually on the payroll, despite his nicely printed business cards that implied he was a govt official. If Werritty wasn’t on the payroll, he hadn’t signed the Official Secrets Act, and without that he had no obligation to keep his mouth shut about some of the things that were discussed with the country’s highest officer in the realm of defence. By way of a little colour, Werrity has not been the innocent companion to Fox they would have you believe. Fox was warned by MI6 about him (MI6 warned Liam Fox over Adam Werritty links); he has been mentioned as the recipient of funding from Israeli billionaires (Adam Werritty bankrolled by three pro-Israel business tycoons), and there are also links between Werrity and Mossad (Fox's best man and his ties to Iran's opposition) seemingly lending truth to the proposition that Fox and Werrity we an appendage to the Foreign office but far enough removed to be deniable, while they dabbled in pro Israel/ anti Iran machinations. Of course when they were rumbled, all suggestions of any impropriety in this unofficial role for Werrity were hotly contested by the deadly duo, but the pressure kept building, and eventually Fox had to go, so he resigned. Thrice now disgraced and again out of work, you would normally expect that to be the end of political life for one so prone to screwing up very important issues and generally being a total pillock, but NO, it was not to be, the Fox gets yet another bite of the cherry when good chum Theresa May appointed "His Deviousness" as Secretary of State for International Trade. The Dangerous Globe.
- Apr.13.2017: How Michael Ashcroft Is Back to Buying Tory Influence. Lord Ashcroft ... gave some $$$s to another of the anti-EU brigade, Liam Fox, who has since become Secretary of State for International Trade. In Nov.2015, a firm called Gusbourne plc gave £10,000 to Liam Fox's constituency. According to their accounts, Lord Ashcroft is the "Ultimate Controlling Party" of Gusbourne. Gusbourne is one firm that could actually benefit from Brexit. Lord Ashcroft has been the main owner since 2013. Solomon Hughes, Vice News.
- Mar.29.2017: UK triggers Brexit, starts eyeing up Middle East. Britain moves to secure deals with Middle East govts, procuring lucrative defence contracts despite human rights concerns. International trade minister Liam Fox has said that the UK is already in informal talks with 12 countries around the world, many of which are in the Middle East. Free trade agreements, lucrative arms deals, human rights concerns: let’s look at what the govt has done so far in the region post-Brexit vote. The UK govt pledged $5.6bn to help UK businesses exporting to Qatar through UK Export Finance. Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox has paid visits to Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. In Nov., Boris Johnson urged Fox to keep shipping weapons to the Saudis even after the bombing of a funeral in Yemen that killed more than 140 people last October. MEE Staff, Middle East Eye.
- Feb.09.2017: UK firms secure lucrative 'green' construction contract with govt support. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox announced that UK Export Finance will support a Carillion contract worth £tens of millions to build a revolutionary environmental building in the UAE. In a significant collaboration between UK firms Carillion and Zaha Hadid Architects, and leading UAE-based environmental management company Bee’ah. Support from UKEF has helped secure a contract to build Bee’ah’s new headquarters in Sharjah, UAE. In which universe is Carillion a UK firm? Press Release, Gov.uk.
- Oct.02.2017: Iain Dale’s 100 most influential people on the Right 2017. Secretary of State for International Trade. One of the three Brexiteers, Liam Fox’s job is in some ways more difficult than the other two, because in theory he won’t have anything to show for his endeavours until Brexit is achieved at some point in 2019. All he can do is lay the ground work. So far he has avoided too many turf wars with Johnson and Davis and spoken out very rarely. Iain Dale, Conservative Home.
- Feb.22.2012: The UK is already open for business. Margaret Taylor, The Lawyer.
- Oct.22.2011: Inside the corporate intelligence company which bankrolled Liam Fox. A South African intelligence expert made payments of as much as £60,000 through his security company for an unregistered charity linked to Liam Fox. Andre Pienaar, a multi-millionaire who keeps out of the public limelight, runs G3 Good Governance Group, a corporate security and intelligence company whose clients include the defence contractor BAE Systems. G3’s main source of income is providing intelligence for big business including “competitor analysis” and cyber security at a cost of £tens of thousands. The chairman of G3’s advisory board is the Duke of Westminster. Lt Gen Sir Graeme Lamb, the former director of UK Special Forces, is also listed as a G3 adviser, while Lord Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions, is a non-executive director of Proven, an investigatory arm of G3. Geoffrey Tantum, a former MI6 Middle East director with wide-ranging connections, is also on the advisory council. Mr Tantum’s daughter, Laura, operates Universal Exports, G3’s charitable foundation. The charity’s trustees include Lord Ashdown and Lady Deborah Peat, the wife of the Prince of Wales’s former principal private secretary. A source in the security and intelligence business said Mr Pienaar had been keen to help Fox while he was in opposition. “G3 had defence clients but wanted to get more,” said the source. “The deal with Fox was kept quiet even within the company.” Robert Mendick, Patrick Sawer, The Telegraph.
- Oct.15.2011: Liam Fox resignation exposes Tory links to US radical right. David Cameron has been accused of allowing a secret rightwing agenda to flourish at the heart of the Conservative party, as fallout from the resignation of Liam Fox exposed its close links with a US network of lobbyists, climate change deniers and defence hawks. Both Liberal Democrat and Labour politicians stepped up their demands for Cameron to explain why several senior members of his cabinet were involved in an Anglo-American organisation apparently at odds with his party's environmental commitments and pledge to defend free healthcare. At the heart of the complex web linking Fox and his friend Adam Werritty to a raft of businessmen, lobbyists and US neocons is the former defence secretary's defunct charity, Atlantic Bridge, which was set up with the purported aim of "strengthening the special relationship" but is now mired in controversy. many of those who sat on the Anglo-American charity's board and its executive council, or were employed on its staff, were lobbyists or lawyers with connections to the defence industry and energy interests. Others included powerful businessmen with defence investments and representatives of the gambling industry. Fox's organisation, which was wound up last year following a critical Charity Commission report into its activities, formed a partnership with an organisation called the American Legislative Exchange Council. The powerful lobbying organisation, which receives funding from pharmaceutical, weapons and oil interests among others, is heavily funded by the Koch Charitable Foundation whose founder, Charles G Koch, is one of the most generous donors to the Tea Party movement in the US. In recent years, the Tea Party has become a potent populist force in American politics, associated with controversial stances on global warming. Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy (now Blair's sidekick) said the Tories still had many questions to answer. Fox resigned on Friday. The revelations over Atlantic Bridge have triggered questions about the role played by Fox, chair of the charity's advisory council, and that of four of its UK members: William Hague, George Osborne, Chris Grayling and Michael Gove. As a UK charity, the organisation enjoyed tax breaks but had to comply with strict rules prohibiting it from promoting business interests. Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott said: "Dr Fox is a spider at the centre of a tangled neocon web. Werritty, the group's UK director, was funded by a raft of powerful businessmen including Michael Hintze, one of the Tories biggest financial backers whose hedge fund, CQS, has investments in companies that have contracts with the Ministry of Defence; Poju Zabludowicz, chairman of the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, who chairs a US munitions company; and the Good Governance Group, a private security firm set up by a South African businessman, Andries Pienaar, who also has an investment firm, C5 Capital, focused on the defence sector. Questions are being asked over the role played by an organisation called the Sri Lankan Development Trust, whose headquarters were listed at the Good Governance Group. The trust paid for 3 of Fox's trips to Sri Lanka. Toby Helm, Jamie Doward, The Guardian.
- Oct.15.2011: Chain of events that led to Liam Fox's resignation. Lord Bell, the PR man who helped Baroness Thatcher to win three elections, emerged last night as one of the key figures in the chain of events that finally ended Liam Fox’s Cabinet career. Gordon Rayner, The Telegraph.