Jacob Rees-Mogg has branded the EU’s suggestion that Northern Ireland should remain in the customs union as “absurd” and insisted there is no time to “nitpick” Brexit.
The backbencher-turned-Brexit poster boy blamed “irresponsible, vote-chasing immaturity” from Irish premier Leo Varadkar and “clear disregard” for the Good Friday Agreement from EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier for the row over the Irish border.
Writing in the Belfast News Letter, Rees-Mogg said: “I cannot see how it is in the Republic’s interests for its current prime minister, Leo Varadkar, to posture in this way, not least by endorsing the fantasy proposals of Michel Barnier this week, which would do such comprehensive harm to the Belfast Agreement and risk No Deal, which would be more damaging to the Republic’s economy than to any other European state.”
He also praised Theresa May for rejecting Brussels’ demands “firmly and unalterably”.
He said: “The thing she said no to was the egregious act of aggression by the European Commission, under its lead Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, that a friendly European state should be dismembered at its behest.
“This will not happen. Our union has endured rather more unpleasant threats than a policy paper out of Brussels which the Prime Minister has rightly rebuffed. But the presumption of Brussels in even proposing this is an unfriendly act.”
He went on: “Then there is the further problem in what this absurd suggestion - that the Province should be detached from the rest of the country and become a protectorate of Brussels - in fact means”
Separately writing in the Telegraph, the MP for North East Somerset also insisted this was not the time to “nitpick” Brexit.
After praising May’s speech, he said: “There are inevitably a few small points that will concern Leave campaigners but we must all recognise that everyone will have to give up something to get a deal, so now is not the time to nitpick.”
The PM’s Mansion House speech set out the “hard facts” about Brexit and reminded voters “life is going to be different” after the EU.
The prime minister acknowledged the UK can not have ‘all the benefits’ of the single market without ‘all of the obligations’.
You can read the full HuffPost Verdict on Theresa May’s Mansion House speech here.