The European Union could “implode” when Britain leaves, Liam Fox has warned, with an entire generation of Europeans set to be sacrificed “on the altar of the single currency”.
Dr Fox also said he was hoping to learn from the discretion of Thereas May after developing a reputation for being gaffe-prone, most recently after a a jibe about British companies being “fat and lazy” was recorded and published by The Times newspaper.
The International Trade Secretary made the remarks in an interview with this week’s edition of The Spectator magazine.
He said the EU’s “architecture is beginning to peel away. It’s going to sacrifice at least one generation of young Europeans on the altar of the single currency, and you can only rip out the social fabric from so much of Europe before it starts imploding”.
Dr Fox added: “That’s the problem with the European Union. And with Britain out of it, they’re still going to have to confront exactly the same problems.”
Dr Fox said Germany should be concerned because Brexit will mean that the bloc will lose another major net funder of the EU.
Liam Fox said Germany should be worried CREDIT: PAUL GROVER FOR THE TELEGRAPH/PAUL GROVER FOR THE TELEGRAPH
He said: “I guess Germany worries, because we were their main allies in bringing some economic rigour to the system.
“If I were a German politician I would be worried that, without Britain, Germany has the potential to become the greatest ATM in global history.”
Dr Fox insisted Britain will be out of the EU by the next general election but “it’s more important to get a good future model than to get it quickly.”
A few weeks ago Dr Fox was recorded telling a reception for the Thatcherite group Conservative Way Forward that the UK had grown “too fat” on the successes of previous generations.
Dr Fox stood by the remarks in the interview, saying: “As a country, we have become too easy with the idea that the world owes us a living. The world doesn’t owe us a living.
“And we’ve just now got to probe all the areas where we could be making changes. Government, the financial sector, culture, all of them will have to play a part. Because one thing’s for sure, we can’t continue with the trajectory we’ve got now, falling behind with exports as a proportion of our GDP.”
He said the way the story was reported meant that “it may well be that from now on all politicians simply use prepared remarks and we don’t do spontaneous. And the press will be poorer for it and our public discourse will be poorer for it”.
He added that Theresa May was the right Prime Minister for Britain as it navigated these uncertain waters, adding: “One of Theresa’s great strengths is discretion. I’m hoping to learn it.”