‘The votes are now there’ for Brexit deal, says Jacob Rees-Mogg | Politics


Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House of Commons, has claimed “the votes are now there” for Boris Johnson to pass a Brexit deal through parliament.

Rees-Mogg, a close ally of Johnson, who is responsible for legislation in the Commons, made the bold claim on the radio station LBC, despite the fact the prime minister is yet to secure a deal with Brussels.

To win a vote, the prime minister would need the support of almost all Eurosceptics in the Conservative party, as well as most of the former Tories from whom he withdrew the whip and either the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) or a bloc of Labour MPs.

Johnson is edging closer to the number he needs, with more prominent Eurosceptics now on board with his plans. Steve Baker, the leader of the European Research Group (ERG), sounded positive after a meeting in No 10: “The mood of the Eurosceptics meeting here tonight was that we do, we can and we must trust the PM.”

However, the DUP, which has reservations over plans to leave Northern Ireland in close alignment with the EU, has still not publicly declared its backing and was reserving judgment on Tuesday night.

Pro-deal Labour MPs would need reassurances about workers’ rights, environmental protections and the future relationship – and will come under pressure from their party not to vote with the government.

parliamentary numbers – graphic

Despite the fact that Theresa May’s deal was rejected three times by the Commons, Rees-Mogg said: “If a deal is agreed with the European Union, it will get through, in my view, the House of Commons because everybody’s desperate to finish this.”

Shedding more light on the process, he said: “We’ve been doing this for three and a half years; it can’t go on forever. We are near a conclusion and parliament, once it’s agreed something, can legislate very quickly. So, if the meaningful vote goes through, then the legislation will merely be the ratification in domestic law of the treaty and that, I think, is a relatively easy bill to pass, if there is a deal.”

He claimed some “big changes” have happened since May failed to get her deal with the EU through parliament, including a shift in the mood towards getting Brexit done and Brussels agreeing to reopen the withdrawal agreement.

However, the former cabinet minister Amber Rudd, who resigned over Johnson’s lack of progress towards a deal, said she thought there was a “whiff of sexism” about Eurosceptics in the European Research Group being prepared to vote for the prime minister’s potential deal after rejecting May’s agreement.


She told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Emma Barnet: “It is difficult to fillet it out, how much is about a more trusting relationship that they clearly have with Boris Johnson, because he himself was very much part of that ERG group in terms of wanting a harder Brexit than the former prime minister wanted, but I do feel as a woman who’s active in politics myself, that there is a whiff of sexism, as you put it, as well.”

When asked why Conservative MPs could vote for a potential Johnson deal when they rejected May’s deal, Rudd said: “There are certain behaviours that particularly men in politics want to see, that women don’t so much, that Boris did adopt, which has given the ERG members a lot of confidence.

“So, for instance, I was very opposed to the prime minister expelling 21 colleagues from the party as MPs, and I felt very strongly that Ken Clarke, who had been in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet, should have a place in Boris Johnson’s party.

“But he took a different view, and I thought that was a very aggressive thing to do, and unnecessary, and has had the effect of radicalising the 21 – which I have now joined. So that sort of aggressive behaviour, though, may be the sort of thing that a group of ERG men, particularly, wanted to see.”


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