Liam Fox has denied that his speech calling for Britain to renegotiate its relationship with the EU was part of a comeback effort after his resignation last year, and said it would not have been possible for him to make such comments from the front bench.
– Former Defence Secretary, Liam Fox
"I don't imagine I would be giving this speech from the heart of government. At least I would not be at the heart of government for more than about 25 minutes."
Eurosceptic Conservative backbencher Peter Bone has welcomed Liam Fox's comments, which he said showed the process of obtaining a referendum on the EU was "gaining momentum at enormous speed"
Mr Bone told Sky News:
– Conservative MP Peter Bone
I think people are coming round to the idea that we should have a referendum in the next parliament, but we should legislate now, in this parliament, for that referendum, so that no party leader could wriggle out of it.
A lot of people think that the next government should renegotiate the terms with Brussels so we just have an economic relationship, and then put that to the British people - either we accept the new terms or we leave.
I think that's what many, many Conservatives now think should be done and what we would like the Prime Minister to say very clearly.
The former defence secretary Dr Liam Fox has called on the government to negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on economic rather than political considerations.
He said "if we succeed a referendum should be held" but if this approach fails "we would have no alternative but to recommend rejection and consider departure from the European Union".
Former defence secretary Dr Liam Fox has said that the UK should leave the European Union unless there is a rebalancing of their relationship.
But while he supports a referendum on the relationship, he does not think one should be held now.
"There are those including a growing number of my parliamentary colleagues who call for a simple in or out referendum to be held in Britain soon.
"I too believe that a referendum will be vital. But I believe that having one now would be a huge error with great tactical risks.
"It is not a coincidence that some very convinced euro enthusiasts support such referendum calls confident that a scare campaign based on false fears of political and economical isolation would win the day.
– Former Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox
"Instead I would like to see Britain negotiate a new relationship with the EU based on economic rather than political considerations and set out in clear and unambiguous language."
Former defence secretary, Dr Liam Fox, has said in a speech calling for a referendum on Britain's membership with the EU:
– Former defence secretary, Dr Liam Fox
I do not believe that Britain's national interest is served by its current relationship with the EU. This becomes even more so with the shifting dynamic unfolding before us.
It is not we in Britain who have brought about the fundamental change in the nature of the EU. We stayed outside a single currency project whose flaws have turned out to be exactly as we envisaged and predicted.
But such is the new reality in which we find ourselves that to either ignore or deny this will continue the policy of half-truths and deception which has gone on for far too long.
The former defence secretary, Dr Liam Fox, is giving a speech calling for a referendum on Britain's relationship with the European Union.
He has said: "I do not think national interest served by the current EU relationship".
He has also told the audience at the Taxpayers' Alliance function: "Too often EU leaders behave as though they are at the centre of the global economy".
Former defence secretary Liam Fox will today set out his staunchly eurosceptic credentials when he declares that "life outside the EU holds no terror".
It follows the Prime Minister reassuring eurosceptics that he is prepared to hold an EU referendum.
In a speech, the Tory MP will say:
– LIAM FOX, FORMER DEFENCE SECRETARY
I would like to see Britain negotiate a new relationship on the basis that, if we achieved it and our future relationship was economic rather than political, we would advocate acceptance in a referendum of this new dynamic.
If, on the other hand, others would not accede to our requests for a rebalancing in the light of the response to the euro crisis, then we would recommend rejection and potential departure from the EU.
Former defence secretary Dr Liam Fox will today become the most senior Conservative to break ranks and call for a referendum.
In a speech this morning, he will argue the eurozone crisis has put Britain's national interests at stake.
David Cameron is facing renewed backbench disquiet over the European Union after he tried and failed to satisfy Conservative demands for a referendum.
Conservative MPs warned that the Prime Minister had not gone far enough by declaring that he would consider calling a referendum - but not yet.
Later today, Mr Cameron will make a statement on Europe to MPs in the Commons.