Dr Liam Fox: Yvette Cooper’s amendment ‘would have profound constitutional changes’

Dr Liam Fox: Yvette Cooper’s amendment ‘would have profound constitutional changes’

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox outside Number 10 Downing Street.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said that an amendment proposed by Labour’s Yvette Cooper would have “profound constitutional changes” to the UK.

Ms Cooper’s amendment seeks to allow backbench MPs to take control of the business of the House of Commons and block a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Fox told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “The amendment would have profound constitutional changes in the UK without the constitutional debate would go with it.

“In effect, I think it would mean that rather than the Government making legislation and Parliament holding Government to account by scrutinising the legislation.

“It would mean the House of Commons itself could make legislation and then scrutinises itself, which would be quite a big difference from where we are today.

“I know passions run very high around Brexit but before we go around changing our constitutional arrangements and conventions by which we operate in Parliament, we need to consider the longer-term implications of that. That would mean a very profound change.”

 

'Some things are more important than Brexit'

Watch: International Trade Secretary Liam Fox discusses Brexit with Julia Hartley-Brewer. 

Mr Fox added that “some things are more important than Brexit.”

“We need to not get carried away by passions on Brexit, from both sides, and be very clear about the implications for the country and our system of government as a whole,” he said.

“Some things are more important than Brexit.”

The International Trade Secretary added that the Prime Minister was doing “everything possible to look for a consensus”.

“The only way to stop no deal from happening is either to change that law or to come to a deal,” he said.

“I think the vast majority of people want to see that deal being put together and the Prime Minister is doing everything possible to look for a consensus.

“It is very clear from the House of Commons that a lot of Conservative MPs and our Democratic Unionist partners were unhappy with the Irish backstop, not that there would be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland because everyone wants that but that it would be the mechanism that could potentially have the UK locked in the customs union against its will.

“The Prime Minister understands that and is working to try and achieve a resolution of that the Irish Government can live with, we can live with and the European Union can live with.”