Former British Defense Secretary Liam Fox has again urged the government to consider leaving the European Union EU, unless the body rebalances its relationship with London.
We should not wait for EU leaders to recognize the failure of the ill-conceived euro before we set out what we want for the British people,” he said in a speech before the Taxpayers' Alliance in Westminster.
''Britain's destiny is not a debating issue for leaders on the continent,” adding that Brussels exerts undue influence on UK government policies.
It must be made in Britain.
Fox’s comments will likely add pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron, who is expected to address parliament on last week’s EU summit.
Cameron has said he might be willing to consider a referendum on Britain’s EU membership but advised “patience” on the subject.
Among other issues, considering that Britain is a member of the EU, but not in the euro zone, Eurosceptics are concerned that the UK might not be getting the best of the arrangement, fearing the emergence of the “two-tier” system in Europe.
Fox also complained that the EU, as it is currently organized, has failed to compete effectively with rising trading powers such as China and India.
“For my own part, life outside the EU holds no terror, as I believe globalization will increasingly force countries to cooperate more closely on the basis of functional commonality rather than geographical proximity,” Fox said.
”It would, though, given our economic interdependence, be to the advantage of all to create a more stable and mutually agreed compromise.
I do not believe that Britain’s national interest is served by its current relationship with the EU,” he added conclusively.
While Fox seems to be agitating for Britain to exit the EU, he cautioned that a referendum on the matter must wait until the euro zone debt crisis significantly eases.
Instead, he suggests that Britain should first negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on economic rather than political considerations and set out in clear and unambiguous language.
In the event that failed, he asserted, there would be no alternative but to recommend rejection and consider departure from the EU.”
The calls to put EU membership to a referendum (eventually) have been growing among the Conservative Party. Last week, John Baron, a Conservative member of Parliament for Basildon and Billericay, said that 100 of his Tory MP colleagues signed a letter asking the PM to conduct such a vote after the next election.
Any EU member state has the right to withdraw from the Union under its articles. However, the last time something like this happened was when Greenland pulled out of the European Economic Community in 1985.
Indeed, in 1975, when the British government held a referendum on its membership in the European Economic Community, a full two-thirds of the electorate chose to remain in the entity.
Fox, who has become something of a Conservative Eurosceptic “du jour,” is a rather controversial figure. He was forced to resign last year as defense chief over his questionable relationship with a male lobbyist named Adam Werritty.
Fox provided Werritty with extraordinary access to the defense ministry (despite him having no security clearance) and even permitted him to accompany him on at least 18 official overseas trips.