Trade Secretary Liam Fox has started a brand new Board of Trade – of which he is the only member.
The new board has apparently been set up by the Department for International Trade to ‘ensure the benefits of free trade are spread throughout the UK’.
Fox said: ‘There is a world of opportunity out there for UK businesses and the Board of Trade will help identify and unlock new export markets and encourage further inward investment.’
However, the announcement of the new board also stated: ‘Membership of the Board of Trade is restricted to Privy Councillors.
‘The only member is: (i) Secretary of State for Department of International Trade and President of the Board of Trade (Chair)’
This means that Fox is both chairman of the board, and he makes up its entire membership.
James McGrory, the executive director of the pro-Europe campaign group Open Britain, told Metro.co.uk: ‘I hope that at the inaugural meeting of the new Board of Trade, Liam Fox managed to have positive and constructive discussions with Liam Fox, after hearing expert analysis by Dr Liam Fox on the impact of Brexit.’
But a department spokesman assured Metro.co.uk that it wouldn’t just be ‘Liam Fox sitting in a room alone, talking to himself about trade’.
He explained that it’s a ‘technicality’ that the board can only be made up of Privy Councillors, and that the new Board of Trade will have attendees from different businesses and parties to keep Liam company.
‘We’ve been clear the Board of Trade needs to act as the eyes and ears of modern businesses,’ he said.
‘That is why we are drawing on prominent figures from business and politics across the country and not just restricting to Privy Councillors, as happened in the past.’