No 10 has insisted UK’s government remains confident in getting a good deal once Britain leaves the EU by March 2019.
A Downing Street spokesman said today: “We are urging Brussels and the nations of the EU27 engage with the Brexit white paper and make sure we avoid a no deal Brexit.
“The fact is that we are ramping up our no deal preparations, as was planned, because there was always a possibility of no deal.
“We remain confident of getting a good deal.”
Downing Street’s comments come after after Mr Fox insisted a no deal Brexit was now most likely on the cards, explaining that the “intransigence” of the European Commission meant there was a 60-40 chance that the UK would leave the EU without a deal.
The International Trade Secretary claimed Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, had already dismissed the proposals, which “makes the chance of no deal greater”.
Mr Fox’s comments, which were not dismissed by Whitehall, appear to be a strategy used to coerce EU negotiators into a Brexit agreement with Mrs May, and avoid the UK from leaving the bloc without a deal.
On Friday, Mrs May cut her holidays short to meet with French President Emmanuel Macro at his summer retreat, in a bid to discuss Brexit plans.
Ahead of the talks, UK’s former ambassador to France warned Mrs May not to expect a Brexit breakthrough from the talks, though, no details of the meeting were released to the public – prompting speculations that Mrs May did not receive good news.
Dr Fox added that the “theological obsession of the unelected” amongst EU negotiators was disrupting a Brexit agreement because it was taking “priority over the economic wellbeing of the people of Europe”.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, he claimed European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, blasted Mrs May’s Chequers plan on the basis that “we have never done it before” and that it “makes the chance of no deal greater”.
He added: “If they don’t like the one [deal] we have put on the table then it’s down to them to show us one that they can suggest that would be acceptable to us.
“It’s up to the EU 27 to determine whether they want the EU Commission’s ideological purity to be maintained at the expense of their real economies.”
UK’s foreign secretary has lashed out at French ministers, warning that Brussels that a no deal Brexit “by accident” would mean “jobs lost in Europe as well”.
However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mr Macron have maintained their stance since the Mrs May’s Chequers proposals were agreed by Cabinet last month.
A no deal Brexit is set to cost all 27 EU member states £500 billion in tariffs as countries are expected to fork out more money to Brussels, according to a report by Economists for Free Trade.
EU countries would lose an average of 1.5 percent of their GDP, while Germany is set to lose £61 billion in trade deals.