Good news for Liam Fox. It looks as though the Secretary for International Trade may have a job after all. After No.10 failed to confirm that Britain would leave the EU customs union as part of Brexit, a number of naysayers — including Nick Clegg — suggested Fox’s department could be left unable to strike any trade deals with the rest of the world.
Today on Sunday Politics, Chris Grayling gave the strongest hint yet that Brexit would require Britain to leave the customs union. In an interview with Andrew Neil to discuss May’s great repeal act, the Transport Secretary said that Brexit means ‘we do our own trade deals’:
AN: For Brexit to mean Brexit — Mrs May’s basic phrase which is basically just a tautology — it would mean the freedom to do our own trade laws, our own trade agreements. Do you agree with that?
CG: Well, we’ve been very clear in saying we want to forge new trading ties around the world.
AN: So, it would mean the ability to do that?
CG: But where you’re leading me Andrew is to ask me specifics about the legal structures…
AN: Brexit to mean Brexit means we do our own trade deals, is that correct?
CG: That’s correct.
While Grayling stopped short of getting into specifics, on the day the Prime Minister set out a timetable for leaving the EU his words can be taken as another sign that the government is taking Brexit seriously.