Jacob Rees-Mogg: PM May Could Face Trouble Over Brexit Deal

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By Cantab12 from Wikimedia Commons

In an interview that was published last Sunday, the head of an influential group of pro-Brexit lawmakers stated that Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, could possibly face trouble with getting her Brexit deal approved by the British parliament prior to the exit day unless she modifies her proposals.

Jacob Rees-Mogg serves as the chairperson of a faction within May’s Conservative Party that is called the European Research Group. He strongly opposes the so-called Chequers plan of the government for Brexit and favours a clean break with the EU on March 2019.

In an interview with The Sunday Times newspaper, Rees-Mogg stated: “If she sticks with Chequers, she will find she has a block of votes against her in the House of Commons.” He is tipped as a potential successor to PM May, told. He described the Chequers proposals as a “surrender” to the EU.

He added: “Of course the Eurosceptics in parliament are not in a majority on all issues, but we will inevitably be in a majority on some of them and that will make the legislation extraordinarily difficult if it is based on Chequers.”

The Theresa May’s Chequers plan would retain the United Kingdom in a free trade zone with the European Union for agricultural and manufactured goods. However, some of the supporters of Brexit have said that it would mean that parts of the economy of the UK would still continue to be subject to rules that are set in Brussels.

Both Brussels and London say that they want to reach a divorce deal at the Oct. 18 EU Council, however, diplomats say that the target date is too optimistic. If May is not able to get a deal by this coming October, an agreement can still be reached at the December 13/14 EU Council.

However, the newspaper reported that Rees-Mogg stated that letting it run to December would be “very risky.”  He says that it would only leave three months to have the deal approved by the British parliament.

He said that it would imply that the government “must come forward with a deal that Brexiteers like because otherwise, they might find it’s much harder to get through parliament than they think.”

The UK Parliament will only have two votes: one on the Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill and one on the Brexit deal.

PM May is expecting that the anxiety of a so called “no-deal” scenario will push several Labour and Conservative lawmakers to support a deal, however, the numbers are very tight. In the recent votes, May led a majority of around six votes on some major Brexit issues.

Dominic Raab, the Brexit minister of Britain, is scheduled to travel to Brussels on Tuesday in an attempt to pick up the pace of the discussions with the Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, however, the government is also stepping up its planning for a “no-deal” Brexit.

Rees-Mogg said that he believed that a “Canada-plus” deal, a free trade pact along the lines of the 2016 agreement of the EU with Canada but with deeper ties given the already closer trading links of Britain, could command a majority in parliament.

Rees-Mogg stated: “If the prime minister came to the House of Commons with a Canada-plus style Brexit, people like me would say, ‘Yes, that’s all right,’ and people who are strongly pro-European would say, ‘Yes, that’s better than leaving on World Trade Organisation terms.’”

He concluded: “So although that wouldn’t be what people might choose, it could command a majority.”