Britain's minister for international trade Liam Fox today came under fire after he accused British businesses of growing "too lazy and too fat".
Britain’s minister for international trade Liam Fox today came under fire after he accused British businesses of growing “too lazy and too fat” and said their executives prefer to “play golf on a Friday afternoon” than export products to markets.
Fox, who is in charge of negotiating trade deals for the UK once it officially leaves the European Union (EU), was recorded by The Times when he was addressing Conservative party activists at a “Conservative Way Forward” event on.
“This country is not the free-trading nation it once was. We have become too lazy, and too fat on our successes in previous generations,” he said.
“We’ve got to change the culture in our country. People have got to stop thinking about exporting as an opportunity and start thinking about it as a duty – companies who could be contributing to our national prosperity – but choose not to because it might be too difficult or too time-consuming or because they can’t play golf on a Friday afternoon – we’ve got to be saying to them if you want to share in the prosperity of our country you have a duty to contribute to the prosperity of our country,” he said.
In his speech he also criticised the “Foreign Office view of the world” for focusing on capital cities and diplomacy rather than business, and claimed his new government department had taken charge of “trading elements”.
Labour MP Chuka Umunna said Fox’s comments were “a complete disgrace, coming from the man supposed to be promoting our businesses globally” and UK businesses deserved an apology.
“UK business must have woken up today, read Liam Fox’s comments, and thought with friends like these who needs enemies”, he tweeted.
A Downing Street spokesperson said Fox had been expressing his own views at the event, and not the “views of the government.”