Bombshell from Liam Fox as political comeback launched
NORTH Somerset MP Liam Fox will today launch his political comeback with a major speech calling for Britain to renegotiate its relationship with the EU.
The former defence secretary's intervention threatens to reopen old and deep wounds within the Conservative Party over Europe.
The MP will set out his staunchly eurosceptic credentials when he declares that "life outside the EU holds no terror".
The speech, which will be hosted by campaign group the Taxpayers' Alliance, will be viewed as Dr Fox repositioning himself as a champion of the dissatisfied Tory right.
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It also puts him at loggerheads with the Prime Minister, who is in the awkward position of having to keep his own Eurosceptic backbenchers happy at the same time as not upsetting his pro-Europe Liberal Democrat coalition members.
David Cameron last night tried in vain to satisfy Conservative demands for a referendum on the European Union after declaring that he was prepared to consider the idea – but not yet.
The Prime Minister was accused of offering "jam tomorrow" with his offer to go to the people once Britain's future relationship with Brussels, in the aftermath of the eurozone crisis and further EU integration, becomes clear.
He insisted the pubic did not want an immediate in/out referendum.
However, Dr Fox, who resigned as Defence Secretary last year amid a scandal relating to his relationship with his friend and defence industry lobbyist Adam Werrity, will lead Tory clarion calls for a firm commitment to seeking a change in Britain's relationship with the EU.
The MP, who has long held eurosceptic views, will say: "I would like to see Britain negotiate a new relationship on the basis that, if we achieved it and our future relationship was economic rather than political, we would advocate acceptance in a referendum of this new dynamic.
"If, on the other hand, others would not accede to our requests for a rebalancing in the light of the response to the euro crisis, then we would recommend rejection and potential departure from the EU."
It is a view that is likely to appeal to the Tory rank-and-file.
Nearly 100 Conservative MPs wrote to Mr Cameron recently urging him to make a legal commitment to hold a poll on the UK's relationship with the EU during the next parliament.