‘I was operating on an outdated understanding’ - Jacob Rees-Mogg squirms as he says he now backs Theresa May

Jacob Rees-Mogg on Sky News. Photograph: Sky.

Jacob Rees-Mogg on Sky News. Photograph: Sky. - Credit: Archant

European Research Group chair Jacob Rees-Mogg has u-turned on his views on Theresa May - days after he demanded she quit.

The Brexiteer appears now to support May through fear that Brexit could be lost altogether through a People's Vote.

He told Sky News: 'I lost the vote last week and if you lose, that is ultimately conclusive. Under Tory party rules the prime minister won, that is a mandate for the next year. I therefore fully support her, I lost the vote last week.'

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However presenter Niall Paterson pointed out that when he lost the vote he demanded she still resigned, causing some uncomfortable squirming from the Brexiteer.

'That's absolutely right, it was in the period of time of the vote, and it was my last effort of trying to achieve what I was trying to achieve. That didn't happen.

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'There's no point being a dog in the manger or being irreconcilable or banging one's head against a brick wall.

'Events move on, they have moved on. Therefore I have moved with them.'

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But Paterson continued with his questioning, throwing the Brexiteer's recent quotes back at the Conservative politician.

Paterson said: 'Both the constitutional precedences that you cited, the fact that she couldn't get a majority in the House, and after the confidence the vote, the fact that the majority of backbenchers are against her - it would appear - both of those are still existent.'

Rees-Mogg, however, shrugged off the presenter's suggestion.

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'The issue of the constitution is a very interesting one because of the fixed term parliament act. Which has turned confidence from a general feeling of confidence and an understanding of what it may be to a specific legislative issue. And it seems there is an argument that the idea of confidence has changed because of the fixed term parliament act and it seems last week I was operating on an outdated understanding of how confidence works. Though other constitutional experts may disagree.'

Asked if it was the ERG and Jacob Rees-Mogg that had been humiliated by the vote, Rees-Mogg simply responded 'you can say that if you want.'

He, however, would not give his categorical backing of Theresa May's Brexit plan.

'I will not vote for things that contradict what I said to the voters of North East Somerset in 2017.'

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