Jacob Rees-Mogg Suggests He Is Ready To Vote For Theresa May's Brexit Deal

Leading Brexiteer warns eurosceptics they now have no choice.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has indicated he is ready to back Theresa May’s Brexit deal after admitting eurosceptic MPs do not have the numbers to secure their perfect exit.

In a boost for the prime minister, the head of the European Research Group (ERG) of pro-Brexit Tory MPs said it appeared he would have no choice but to vote for the agreement.

“The prime minister will not deliver a no-deal Brexit,” he told ConHome’s Moggcast podcast on Tuesday.

“I have always thought that no-deal is better than Mrs May’s deal, but Mrs May’s deal is better than not leaving at all.”

The leading Brexiteer has previously said May’s deal with the EU would turn the UK into a “slave state”.

And his switch in position was immediately criticised by the hardline Brexiteer Leave.EU campaign.

Rees-Mogg he said eurosceptics like him had to accept that leaving the EU was “a process of unravelling and diverging that will take time” rather than a single moment in time.

“We have to recognise what we want and what we can deliver is not necessarily the same because of our lack of numbers,” he added.

His climbdown comes as May faces calls to grant free votes on alternatives to her Brexit strategy after MPs dramatically seized control of the process.

The prime minister’s fragile authority suffered another blow as three ministers quit to back a Commons amendment enabling MPs to take charge of Commons business to stage a series of “indicative votes” on alternatives to her deal.

Alistair Burt, who quit his Foreign Office role in order to back the amendment last night, said: “Parliament should seek urgently to resolve the situation by considering alternatives freely, without the instruction of party whips, and government should adopt any feasible outcome as its own in order to progress matters.”

The defeat heaps further pressure on May’s position and could increase the chances of an early general election if MPs back plans for a softer EU exit which would be unacceptable to the PM or hardline Brexiteers.

Steve Brine, who quit as a health minister, suggested the revolt in favour of the indicative votes amendment could actually boost the chances of May’s deal finally getting through, by persuading Tory eurosceptics such as Rees-Mogg it was the best form of Brexit on offer.

The European Council last week set a deadline of Friday for the PM to secure parliamentary approval for her withdrawal agreement if the UK is to leave the EU with a deal on May 22.

If she cannot get it through the Commons, then the UK has until April 12 to propose a different approach, or crash out of the bloc without a deal.