A ‘no deal’ is the most likely Brexit outcome for UK

Liam Fox says the chance of a no-deal Brexit is growing, blaming the “intransigence” of the European Commission.

The international trade secretary and Brexiteer put the chance of failing to come to an agreement at “60-40”.

He told the Sunday Times that Brussels’ chief negotiator had dismissed the UK’s Chequers proposals simply because “we have never done it before”.

The UK and EU say they want agreement before the exit on 29 March 2019.

Mr Fox told the paper that he had not thought the likelihood of no-deal was higher than 50-50, but the risk had increased.

He said the EU had to decide whether to act in the economic best interests of its people, or to go on pursuing an approach determined by an obsession with the purity of its rules.

“I think the intransigence of the commission is pushing us towards no deal,” he said.

The government has been touting its plans for Brexit agreed at Chequers – the prime minister’s country residence in Buckinghamshire – to the EU and its leaders, including the French President Emanuel Macron, whom Theresa May met on Friday.

But Mr Fox claimed Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, had already dismissed the proposals, which “makes the chance of no deal greater”.

He said: “We have set out the basis in which a deal can happen but if the EU decides that the theological obsession of the unelected is to take priority over the economic wellbeing of the people of Europe then it’s a bureaucrats’ Brexit – not a people’s Brexit – then there is only going to be one outcome.”

Mr Fox said if the EU did not like the proposal, they should “show us one that they can suggest that would be acceptable to us”.

He added: “It’s up to the EU27 to determine whether they want the EU Commission’s ideological purity to be maintained at the expense of their real economies.”

A survey of UK businesses found that half of those that responded believe Brexit will trigger a drop in revenue in 2019 according to new research by MHR Analytics, the specialist provider of business intelligence and analytics solutions.

The findings are contained in a new report published today entitled ‘Business Insight: The Data Surge’ which contains detailed polling of 200 senior decision-makers in large and medium sized UK businesses about their investment plans.

When asked which factor was most likely to trigger a drop in revenue for 2019, the majority believed it would be Brexit at 57 per cent.

Nick Felton, SVP at MHR Analytics comments: “It’s clear that businesses are braced for significant turbulence next year and are planning major investment in key areas to power through an anticipated drop in revenues. Despite these fears, companies are adopting a combative approach to this problem, with departments such as IT, marketing and sales all set for a cash injection.”