Jacob Rees-Mogg 'running scared' of threat to stop Brexit

PUBLISHED: 15:45 23 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:54 23 January 2019

Jacob Rees-Mogg arrives to make a speech at a meeting of the Bruges group. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

Jacob Rees-Mogg arrives to make a speech at a meeting of the Bruges group. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Anti-Brexit campaigners have claimed that Jacob Rees-Mogg is "running scared" over the threat of parliament taking back control of Brexit.

He told a meeting of the Bruges group of Tory Brexiteers that efforts by backbenchers Yvette Cooper and Nick Boles to drive parliamentary business were a “constitutional outrage”.

He said: “If the House of Commons undermines our basic constitutional conventions, then the executive is entitled to use other vestigial constitutional means to stop it, by which I basically mean prorogation.

“Prorogation normally lasts for three days, and any law that is in the process before prorogation falls. I think that would be the government’s answer. That is the government’s backstop, to use a choice phrase.

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“And if the government allows no deal to be taken off the table, that would be a failure of the government, and then it would be the job of backbench MPs to hold the government to account.”

Rees-Mogg said that, despite his warm words over the weekend towards Theresa May’s Brexit plan, he still could not vote for the deal.

He said: “As long as the backstop is there I will not vote for this deal.

“I think people’s chances of stopping Brexit are very slim.

“Of course any deal would be better than not leaving at all, but this deal... is not good enough. It needs fundamental change.”

He said that he believed that “things are going our way”, but added: “We are not there yet.”

Despite being an advocate of a no deal Brexit, Rees-Mogg claimed everybody wanted a deal “in the best possible way”, but said he was on alert for “meaningless soft soap”.

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He added: “If the only way to get it is by reopening the text that is what they will have to do. This is ‘realpolitik’. If they do that then people like me will consider what is done.

“But what people like me are not saying is here is a blank cheque to get a few more words and then suddenly we will change our minds. It has to be legally binding.”

Best for Britain supporter Virenda Sharma MP said that Jacob Rees-Mogg was now “running scared”.

She said: “Take back control seems to have morphed into suspending parliamentary democracy. This smells like a parliamentary coup.

“All of this is because he knows the momentum in parliament and in the country is for a public vote on Brexit. But no one could have expected him to declare war on Parliament.”

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