Liam Fox warns of chaos in European Parliament from postponement of Brexit

Should Britain's departure from the EU be postponed, Britain would end up participating in the European Parliamentary elections. Nigel Farage and anti-establishment figures would have a field day. Does Brussels really want that?

by Patrick Sullivan, Political Editor on 24 January 2019 20:52

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With the rise of populism at the top of everyone’s agenda at this week’s world economic forum in Davos, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has cautioned Brussels against any attempt to stop Brexit by raising the spectre of Britain’s participation in the European Elections, where populist parties across the continent are positioned to do well.

Dr Fox told EuroNews, the preferred news network of Brussels Bureaucrats,:

“The law in Britain says that the European treaties will no longer apply to Britain after 29th March, so there are two ways to avoid that. One would be to change the law. The second would be to get to a deal. If you were to change the law and you were to extend Article 50, that would almost certainly mean that Britain would have to fight the European election under the law," he said on Wednesday.

"I can’t see that the European Parliament would be too thrilled to have 70 British MEPs stuck there who didn’t want to be there. And I can’t imagine British taxpayers would be willing to happily pay the cost for that campaign. It would also require the EU to want to do it.”

To those in the EU trying to protect the established order of things, there could hardly be a more nightmarish scenario than the UK sending a majority populist delegation to join the already expanded ranks of anti-elitist troublemakers.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s very public consideration of setting up a new Brexit party to fight these elections has served only to deepen the concerns of those working inside the European Parliament and the Commission.

Analysts say an extension of Article 50 would be a huge motivating tool for those who voted to leave the European Union to send a defiant message to the establishment both in Britain and on the continent. 

This is the underlying threat Dr Fox is alluding to if Brussels attempts to frustrate Brexit in the way former Chancellor George Osborne and Tony Blair are hoping.

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