'Blatant hypocrisy' - Is Jacob Rees-Mogg now supporting Theresa May's Brexit deal?

PUBLISHED: 13:29 20 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:03 21 January 2019

Jacob Rees-Mogg in Westminster with an anti-Brexit protestor. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

Jacob Rees-Mogg in Westminster with an anti-Brexit protestor. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Arch Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg says he now supports Theresa May's Brexit deal as a better option than staying in the EU.

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Writing in the Mail on Sunday Rees-Mogg said: “If I had to choose between no deal and Mrs May’s original accord, I would have no hesitation of opting for a no-deal Brexit but even Mrs May’s deal would be better than not leaving at all.”

“I believe that with commitment and effort we can avoid such a choice.”

He added: “The simple arithmetic is that more than 110 Tory MPs and ten DUP MPs voted against Ms May’s deal last week. If they change sides, she wins.

“Therefore, the energy of the negotiations to improve her deal must be with us and not with Labour MPs such as Yvette Cooper who cannot provide her with anything like the additional 115 MPs needed to reverse the result.”

But just like with his apparent flip-flopping over his confidence in the prime minister, the Best for Britain campaign has found Jacob Rees-Mogg and his European Research Group have been far from supportive of the deal prior to this.

Here are just five examples.

1. July 2018, Rees-Mogg said the white paper on which May’s deal is based “recreated the worst aspects of the EU” and was the “greatest vassalage since King John”

“This is the greatest vassalage since King John paid homage to Phillip II at Le Goulet in 1200.

“It is not something I would vote for nor is it what the British people voted for.”

“In particular this paper sets out that the UK will be subject to EU laws while having no say in their creation. The Common Rule Book will not be Common it will be EU law, interpreted by the EU Court with the UK subjected to EU fines for non-compliance.

“In effect parliament will have no say over future EU laws implemented in the UK.

“The UK has accepted that it will collect and hand over EU taxes. This is an unwanted intrusion into the control of our border. The absence of reciprocity is concerning and the cost to the taxpayer unknown.

“Taken as a whole this recreates many of the worst accepts of the EU the British people voted to leave. This does not respect the referendum result.”

2. November 2018, Rees-Mogg said May’s deal would turn the UK into a ‘slave state’.

“She hasn’t so much struck a deal as surrendered to Brussels and given in to everything they want and tried to frustrate Brexit that it’s not so much a vassal state anymore as a slave state.”

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3. January 2019, Rees-Mogg wrote an op-ed for the Daily Telegraph complaining May’s deal would see us pay “39 billion for nothing at all”

“The potentially endless Customs Union, the separation between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and the risk of paying £39 billion for nothing are all still there.”

4. January 2019, Rees-Mogg hosted a champagne party after May’s deal fell.

Senior Euoropean Research Group member Sir Bill Cash proudly claimed: “It was a party and a celebration,”

5. Brexit ally Boris Johnson was also convinced the deal was worse than EU membership, calling it “worse than the status quo”

He said the prime minister’s Chequers plan would mean “abandoning our seat around the table in Brussels and continuing to accept the single market legislation”.

“That seems to me to be a particular economic risk in Chequers and makes it substantially worse than the status quo.”

Best for Britain supporter David Lammy MP said: “This is more blatant hypocrisy from the ERG mob. After Boris Johnson’s blatant lies over his disgraceful anti-Turkish campaigning in 2016 were exposed, this really is a slap in the face to their supporters.

“Rees-Mogg previously said May’s deal would turn us into a ‘slave state’ by forcing us to accept EU laws without influence. His flip-flop on this is a sure sign that he’s running scared of the growing momentum in parliament and around the country for a public vote on Brexit to cancel the mess he’s been so intimately involved in creating.”

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