London – Britain is looking more likely than ever to crash out of the European Union without a deal, according to the UK’s international trade secretary Liam Fox.
Fox put the chances of failure to reach a deal on Brexit at “60-40,” placing blame on the “intransigence” of the European Commission, in an interview published in The Sunday Times newspaper.
His comments come as the deadline looms for Britain to exit the European Union on March 29, and amid growing fears that a divorce deal will not be agreed in time.
The top minister and Brexiteer said he had previously thought the prospect of a no-deal were “50-50” but that had now increased — largely due to European bureaucrats harboring a “theological obsession” with EU rules, rather than “economic wellbeing.”
“I think the intransigence of the commission is pushing us towards no deal,” he said in the report.
Meanwhile British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose blueprint for leaving Europe has come under fire from both Brexiteers and Remainers within her Conservative Party, was in talks with French President Emmanuel Macron at his summer residence in the south of France over the weekend.
Downing Street did not say what the leaders discussed, but political analysts see the meeting as a desperate last bid by May to circumvent the commission and curry favor for her plan.
British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron speak in southern France on Friday.
The negotiations come at a delicate time for May, who in recent months has seen a string of resignations in her party over her Brexit plans — most notably Brexit secretary David Davis and foreign secretary Boris Johnson.
However Fox told The Sunday Times he was standing by the beleaguered prime minister, saying “no amount of shuffling around those at the top will change” the situation.
Fox is not alone in thinking Britain may wind up without a deal at all — last week the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, also warned the possibility of a no-deal was “uncomfortably high,” according to Reuters.