Tory MPs have told Jacob Rees-Mogg to “shut up” and stop trying to “blackmail” Theresa May over Brexit after he threatened to vote down a deal with Brussels.
The Hard Brexiteer, who has constantly pressured the Prime Minister to remove the UK completely from the EU’s customs union and Single Market, used an article in the Telegraph newspaper on Monday to issue his most direct threat to date.
The North East Somerset MP warned Tories would vote down any Brexit deal that did not give the UK complete freedom in areas of trade, immigration and fishing.
He said giving in to those MPs who want a soft Brexit, which would see the UK stay locked in to some parts of the EU, would split the party in the same way a row over tariffs on imported corn did in the 19th century.
Rees-Mogg’s perceived threat angered many Tories, with Foreign Office Minister’s Sir Alan Duncan and Alistair Burt leading the fightback.
Rees-Mogg’s article comes at the beginning of yet another crunch week for the May’s Brexit plans.
The Cabinet will relocate to the PM’s country retreat of Chequers on Friday to thrash out an agreement on the UK’s future customs arrangement with Brussels.
A new plan is believed to be on the table after two previous iterations failed to get support from key ministers.
The customs partnership model, which would see the UK collect tariffs on behalf of the EU, was unpopular with Brexit supporters who believed it does not give the UK sufficient freedom to take advantage of new trade opportunities.
The maximum facilitation model, or ‘max fac’, which relies on as yet developed technology to ensure speedy customs checks on goods, was criticised by Remainer supporters who feel it would place additional bureaucracy on businesses and could lead to delays at UK ports.
In his Telegraph article, Rees-Mogg warned the Prime Minister to “stand firm” against the “metropolitan establishment of fashionable society and the beau monde.”
He added: “Any EU agreement that restricts the country’s ability to make trade agreements with other states, restricts our ability to control our migration policy, makes us pay to trade or interferes with our fishing waters could not be accepted.
“Indeed many MPs would vote against such propositions if brought to Parliament.”
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