Tories spend £1m on spin ops for arch-Brex­i­teer Fox


THE de­part­ment led by arch-Brex­i­teer Liam Fox racked up a £1 mil­lion bill on spin doc­tors in one year. Last night, the SNP blasted it as an “ex­pen­sive spin op­er­a­tion” for right-wing Tory hard­lin­ers.

Data re­leased un­der Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion laws shows the De­part­ment for In­ter­na­tional Trade spent £901,000 on salaries for com­mu­ni­ca­tion staff from July 2016 to June 2017 and £114,000 on con­trac­tors.

Theresa May launched the min­istry, which claims to be re­spon­si­ble for “cham­pi­oning free trade”, soon af­ter she be­came Prime Min­is­ter in July last year.

How­ever, SNP MSP Stu­art McMil­lan said the de­part­ment had failed to serve any pur­pose be­fore the UK leaves the EU.

McMil­lan, who sits on Holy­rood’s Europe com­mit­tee, said: “At that price we’d ex­pect to know a lit­tle more about just what ex­actly Liam Fox’s zom­bie de­part­ment has achieved in the last 16 months – but the de­part­ment is not one step closer to sign­ing the promised trade deals with the wider world.

“The De­part­ment for In­ter­na­tional Trade just looks like an ex­pen­sive spin op­er­a­tion for Liam Fox and the hard­line Brex­i­teer wing of the Tory party. Mean­while, far from cham­pi­oning free trade, busi­nesses in the UK will face rafts of tar­iffs and bar­ri­ers if the hard­line Brex­i­teers get their way and the Tories crash out of the EU without a deal. The Leave cam­paign promised an ex­tra £350m a week for the NHS – but in­stead we face a multi-bil­lion pound di­vorce bill, spi­ralling bu­reau­cratic costs in all three Brexit de­part­ments – and all while the Tories make deeper cuts to vi­tal pub­lic ser­vices.”

In re­sponse, a De­part­ment for In­ter­na­tional Trade spokesper­son said: “We’ve helped se­cure more for­eign direct in­vest­ment projects than ever be­fore, sup­ported thou­sands of busi­nesses to ex­port their goods and ser­vices – in­clud­ing £262 bil­lion in ser­vices ex­ports alone in the last year – and started work cre­at­ing our own in­de­pen­dent trad­ing pol­icy for the first time in 40 years.

“None of this would have been pos­si­ble without a com­mu­ni­ca­tions team that pro­vides busi­nesses and in­ter­na­tional in­vestors with vi­tal in­for­ma­tion on ex­port­ing and do­ing busi­ness in Bri­tain.”

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