Jacob Rees-Mogg has revealed he will oppose Theresa May’s ‘misfounded’ Cabinet agreement, as he hit out at the PM in the wake of David Davis’s resignation.
The influential backbencher, who leads a 60-strong group of Tory Brexiteers, also warned that other Eurosceptic MPs will follow suit in refusing to support Mrs May.
Tonight he reportedly said that it had been a mistake for the Prime Minister to ‘bounce’ the Cabinet into supporting her plans, finalised at Chequers on Friday.
Reacting to the resignation of David Davis and two junior ministers, he said: ‘This is very important. It raises the most serious questions about the PM’s ideas,’ Sky News reported.
Steve Baker and Suella Braverman, junior ministers in the Brexit department, were also reported to have quit the government last night amid speculation that further Cabinet ministers would follow Mr Davis to the exit.
The Brexit rebellion leaves Mrs May in a perilous position as she faces the House of Commons and then a potentially stormy meeting of Tory MPs on Monday.
Mr Rees-Mogg has compared May’s plan to an egg so softly boiled that it ‘isn’t boiled at all.’
‘A very soft Brexit means that we haven’t left, we are simply a rule-taker,’ he said.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: ‘If the proposals are as they currently appear, I will vote against them and others may well do the same.’
He went on to describe the Chequers deal as ‘the ultimate statement of managing decline’.
He said: ‘It focuses on avoiding risk, not on the world of opportunity outside the EU. Pragmatism has come to mean defeatism.
‘We seek a new and equal partnership. not partial membership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half in, half out. We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave.
‘Tying the UK to transcribing the EU rule book to the letter rather than agreeing shared results will leave large barriers to trade with the rest of the world.
‘There is unhelpful ambiguity in the text which could lead to results that are the opposite of those implied by the briefings that have been given.
‘For example, the conclusion boasts that free movement will end, whereas in fact the agreement could be used to open it up again.
‘It proposes “a mobility framework so that UK and EU citizens can continue to travel to each other’s territories and apply for study and work”.
‘The same unclear construction applies to the ending of “vast annual payments to the EU budget”.
‘As Norway and Switzerland pay for preferential access, does this mean simply “large“ payments but not vast ones?
‘If the Brexit Secretary cannot support them they cannot be very good proposals. It was an attempt to bounce the cabinet. It was a serious mistake.’
Until now, Mr Rees-Mogg has always claimed to support Mrs May.
But after she described the new deal as a ‘significant evolution’ of promises made in her keynote Brexit speeches, he claimed she has not met her own tests of what a deal must accomplish.