Liam Fox tells civil servants not to use "offensive" term "Empire 2.0"
International trade secretary's warning comes after reports officials in his department were dismissive of Commonwealth trade plan
Liam Fox has warned his officials not to use the term “Empire 2.0” to describe his department’s efforts to build stronger trading links with Commonwealth countries.
The international trade secretary met ministers from more than 30 countries that used to be part of the British Empire in London last week to discuss boosting economic ties.
Ahead of the summit, The Times reported that Whitehall officials sceptical about the attempt to had branded it “Empire 2.0”.
Whitehall urged to begin work on Brexit projects from this month
Brexit a "golden opportunity" for Defra, says department's former chief
Civil service recruitment rules eased to help plug Brexit skills gaps
But Fox hit out at the characterisation over the weekend, telling Sky News: “That’s not a phrase I would ever allow them [civil servants] to use.
“It’s a phrase I find slightly offensively caricaturing. So it’s not a phrase I would use.”
He added that it was right for the UK to have a “proper global view” as it leaves the European Union.
In his speech at the summit, Fox said the “rapid economic development” of some Commonwealth nations opened up new opportunities for mutually advantageous trade links.
“This represents not only a great opportunity for their citizens to share in the proceeds of global prosperity, but it represents tremendous opportunities to importers and exporters from across the whole Commonwealth, a genuinely win-win situation,” he said.
Brexit bill progress
Fox's warning comes as the government prepares for its Brexit bill – allowing Theresa May to formally trigger talks on the UK's EU departure – to overcome its final parliamentary hurdles.
The Commons will vote on Monday afternoon on whether to overturn two amendments that were added to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill in the House of Lords.
MPs are expected to reject both changes, which relate to the rights of EU citizens already living in the UK and the nature of the vote parliament will have on the final terms of the Brexit deal.
Labour will support both amendments, and Jeremy Corbyn is set to address a rally outside of parliament this evening in support of EU citizens’ rights.
Once the MPs have made their decision, the bill returns to the House of Lords, where peers will decide whether to pass further amendments and send it back to the Commons or to approve the version sent to them.
The Labour leadership in the House of Lords has indicated it is likely to allow the bill to pass.
The bill then receives royal assent, at which point May will have the legal authority to trigger Article 50 when she chooses and set the clock ticking on the two-year negotiating window for leaving the EU.
Watchdog’s snapshot shows BEIS has biggest numeric burden, followed by Defra
Home Affairs Committee report slams "completely unconvincing"...
FCO wants a greater share of the UK aid budget and a stronger...
If the UK’s negotiations to leave the European Union are at risk of bombing, it is down to the...
BT takes a look at the shifting nature of cyber threats, and how organisations can detect and...
Microsoft shows a few of the ways that governments can turn data into insight
With the ‘low-hanging fruit’ exhausted, the public sector must approach new government saving...
TCS is keen to contribute to the topic of successful partnerships between the public and private...