Steerpike Steerpike

Liam Fox doesn’t have a job – he just doesn’t know it yet, says Nick Clegg

Given the fragile egos of Theresa May’s three Brexiteers — Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis — Mr S suspects it’s for the best that none of them were present at today’s press gallery lunch with Nick Clegg. After accusing David Cameron of engaging ‘in a brutal act of one upmanship’ by quitting as the MP for Witney on the same night as his book launch, Clegg went on to launch an attack on the government — focussing on Liam Fox.

While Clegg refused to comment on what Cameron really made of May, he was happy to share his thoughts on the Secretary for International Trade. The former deputy Prime Minister said he felt pity for Fox. The reason? He doesn’t have a job. While it may seem as though Fox has been given an important brief by May, Clegg claims it is a charade that will end in disaster:

‘I’ll just say a word about Liam Fox though because I do feel sorry for him. I’m not a betting man but if I was I’d put a fair amount of money on Liam Fox resigning in a huff in the next 18 months and I’ll explain to you why. He doesn’t have a job and he doesn’t appear to have realised that yet.

He genuinely doesn’t have a job. If the United Kingdom doesn’t leave the customs union then he is heading a department without purpose because he cannot negotiate all these apparently magnificent trade deals with Papua New Guinea and Tanzania. Only 15 per cent of British trade goes to countries outside the EU.’

Clegg went on to claim that even if the government does quit the customs union, he will have little to do:

‘So the poor chap — if the government decide not to quit the customs union — it really will be a little embarrassing.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles


Written by

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

Topics in this article


Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in