Britain as a trading nation has become "too lazy and too fat" and business leaders are more interested in playing golf on Friday afternoons than in seeking new export markets, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox was recorded saying, Reuters informs.
Fox, who was a prominent campaigner for Britain to leave the European Union and says the country must forge new trading relationships with the rest of the world, was recorded making the comments during a drinks party with activists.
Trade was one of the main issues at stake in Britain's EU referendum on June 23, which delivered the Brexit vote.
"This country is not the free trading nation that it once was. We have become too lazy and too fat on our successes in previous generations," he told members of the right-wing group Conservative Way Forward on Thursday.
"What is the point of us reshaping global trade, what is the point of us going out and looking for new markets for the United Kingdom, if we don't have the exporters to fill those markets?"
Those campaigning to stay in the bloc argued an exit would be profoundly damaging to trade, while those in favor of Brexit said it would give Britain the opportunity to look beyond Europe and export to other, more dynamic parts of the world.
But Fox complained of "companies who could be contributing to our national prosperity but choose not to because it might be too difficult or too time-consuming or that they can't play golf on a Friday afternoon".