Prominent Conservative Party backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg has launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan, arguing it should be scrapped in favour of a harder approach to leaving the European Union.
Speaking today on his regular call-in show on radio station LBC, Rees-Mogg said that the plan, which was agreed on Friday at the Prime Minister’s country house Chequers, was “deeply unsatisfactory”.
Backing the position set out by former Brexit Secretary David Davis, who resigned on Sunday following the agreement, Mogg called for the Prime Minister to revisit the proposals.
“I think what the Prime Minister needs to do is give up on the Chequers proposals, which David Davis in his resignation letter has pointed out don’t actually deliver Brexit,” he said.
Rees-Mogg raises job concerns over Brexit plans
Rees-Mogg drew a connection between job availability and keeping close ties with the European Union, which he argued has a poor employment record.
“The European Union is not good for jobs, to suggest it is, is simply untrue,” he said.
“If you look at unemployment rates across the European Union, and youth unemployment rates, you see how high they are.
“And what we’re signing up to, this common rule book, is known as the acqui communautaire. It’s not some new common rulebook, it’s the EU’s rules, which we will be accepting, and new rules we will be accepting, and these have been job-destroying and made economies less efficient, so signing up to that is a) not Brexit and b) not economically wise.”
Not calling for May’s resignation
Despite having been repeatedly identified as a contender for the job of prime minister, Mogg refused to go so far as to call for the resignation of May, or a no-confidence vote in her.
“I don’t think a no-confidence vote is immediately in the offing,” he said.
“The Conservative Party doesn’t have a great history of changing its leader; I think it’s the policy that matters rather more than the leader.”
However, he did present her current position as essentially a remain approach in all but name.
“The Prime Minister was very clear that Brexit would mean Brexit, she made any number of statements indicating that she was going to do it properly, and then she has decided to have a basically remain approach to the negotiations.”