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Liam Fox challenged to eat chlorine-washed chicken and have it broadcast on live TV

'The choice of recipe is up to him, but one serving suggestion might be Chlorination Chicken'

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Monday 24 July 2017 22:20 BST

Liam Fox has been challenged to eat chlorine-washed chicken and broadcast it live after dismissing fears that British food safety regulations could ripped up during Brexit.

Open Britain's executive director, James McGrory, issued the challenge after the International Trade Secretary claimed the British media were "obsessed" with chlorine-washed chickens, before describing them as a "detail" to consider in the later stages of any trade negotiations.

Mr Fox was speaking in Washington, where he is taking part in talks on post-Brexit trade links with the US. The discussions sparked concern an agreement would open up British markets to US agricultural products including the controversial chickens.

"If the International Trade Secretary wants the public to trust him, he needs to take the opportunity while he's in the US and devour a chlorine-washed chicken live on camera," Mr McGrory said.

"The choice of recipe is up to him, but one serving suggestion might be Chlorination Chicken.

"The proof of the chicken is in the eating and if Mr Fox thinks it's safe, he should put his money where his mouth is. If he doesn't, he is just chicken."

Liam Fox rejects idea that potential reduction in meat safety is important factor in current trade negotiations

It comes after Mr Fox refused to answer categorically whether he would feel comfortable eating a chlorine-washed chicken.

He said: "In a debate which should be about how we make our contribution to global liberalisation and the increased prosperity of both the UK, the US and our trading partners, the complexities of those - the continuity agreements, the short-term gains that we may make, the opportunities we have and our ability to work jointly towards both a free-trade agreement and WTO liberalisation - the British media are obsessed with chlorine-washed chickens, a detail of the very end stage of one sector of a potential free trade agreement.

"I say no more than that."

Mr Fox said closer trade ties could boost prosperity in both countries and hit out at Brexit critics, claiming they were “dreaming” if they thought the UK could end up remaining in the EU.

He also urged Remainers to accept the result of the referendum and help secure the best outcome for the UK rather than seek to "thwart" Brexit.

The prominent Brexiteer said: "Those who are still intent on trying to thwart the process, or seem to hope that something will magically appear that will change the referendum results, they are dreaming."

Answering questions following a speech at the American Enterprise Institute conservative think tank, Mr Fox said it would be "optimistic" to think a free-trade deal with the EU could be concluded by the March 2019 deadline but ministers were supportive of a transitional deal so that businesses would not face a cliff-edge change in the rules.

Theresa May's official spokesperson said it was too early to discuss specific details of any trade deal, such as the issue of chlorinated chicken.

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, a leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said: "The Government is putting the Fox in charge of the hen coop when it comes to food safety.

"This row about chlorine chicken is a direct result of the Government's decision to leave the single market. They are so desperate for new trade deals to make up for some of the losses that they seem ready to compromise on the safety of the food we eat."

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