Jacob Rees-Mogg MP: Commons vote ‘makes no-deal Brexit more likely’

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Published: 1095 days
JACOB REES-MOGG defied claims across the political spectrum that Theresa May's concession to Tory rebels this evening had killed off the chance of a no deal Brexit, instead insisting the Government's last-minute compromise had made it more likely.

Tory MP and prominent Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg played down reports that Theresa May had "sold him down the river" but admitted tonight's concessions were a "mistake".

Speaking on Channel 4 News, Mr Rees-Mogg delivered his first reaction to the votes on the Brexit Lords amendments that took place in Parliament today.

The Government avoided a humiliating defeat on the EU withdrawal bill, but Brexiteers like Nigel Farage are concerned this could spell danger for Brexit.

The Government defeated the amendment by 324 votes to 298 after a late concession to a group of Tories led Dominic Grieve.

However, Mr Rees-Mogg bucked the trend by denying that a no deal option in Brexit talks was dead, instead claiming the decision today had made a no deal scenario "more likely".

Channel 4 News reporter Jon Snow asked Mr Rees-Mogg whether he had accepted that the chance for a no deal Brexit was over.

He responded: "I think Dominic Grieve’s amendment makes a no deal Brexit more, rather than less, likely .

"The reason for that is that the House of Commons if it sets out indications for how the Government should negotiate, it’s a very inflexible body for doing that.

"It can legislate for what the Government can ask for, but it cannot legislate or pass motions for what the EU will give.

"We have a separation of powers for a very good reason.

"That is because the Government can have flexibility and acts quickly while parliament acts slowly.

"Time will be short by the end of November. If we get into the position in November where there is not a deal that the House of Commons likes and it sets down motions for what the government must do, if it asks for things that the EU then doesn't give, it will take too long for the government to be able to go back to parliament, back to the EU to get a deal.

"I think this has gone the wrong way because I am in favour of having a deal, but I do also think a no deal is better than a bad deal."

Snow jumped in, asking the Tory Brexiteer: "Clearly, the Prime Minister has sold one of you down the rivers! And Rees-Mogg, tonight it looks like it's you."

Mr Rees-Mogg denied that Mrs May had sold him down the river, insisting that the British leader was acting very wisely.

Despite Mr Rees-Mogg backing the Prime Minister, other Brexiteers are furious that Mrs May has killed off the prospect of a no deal Brexit.

According to the compromise, if the Commons refuse to agree with the divorce deal, Mrs May will be forced back to the EU negotiating table.

The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg tweeted: “Government wins. Getting there wasn’t pretty and the Government has arguably given away some of the incentive for the EU to do a decent deal in October.”

The Telegraph's Brexit correspondent James Rothwell said he believed Mrs May had created a situation where "no deal is to all extents and purposes dead" and where "leverage against the EU is virtually non-existent".


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