Theresa May WARNED by Rees-Mogg: Rotten Brexit deal means we'll NEVER leave EU

The leader of the Tory leavers group, Jacob Rees-Mogg, branded her EU deal “rotten” and warned that it would condemn Britain to “perpetual penal servitude”. Writing for the Sunday Express, Mr Rees-Mogg offered Mrs May an 11th hour escape route – but only if Attorney General Geoffrey Cox can win a convincing time limit to the Northern Ireland backstop in his talks with the EU. Otherwise Brexiteer MPs will again vote against her Withdrawal Agreement.

When she last asked for the support of the Commons in January she lost by a crushing 230 votes.

Mr Rees-Mogg’s warning came after a poll revealed voters believe most MPs in the predominately Remain Commons are now fighting for EU interests ahead of British interests.

The Prime Minister hopes to head to Brussels to sign off a revised deal tonight or tomorrow morning after talks continued yesterday. But a Downing Street source said: “These are tough talks with the Commission which we are expecting to go right down to the wire.

“The Prime Minister, ministers and her negotiating team are intensely focused this weekend on making progress so that ultimately we can, in the country’s best interests, leave the EU with a deal.” Last night senior Whitehall sources suggested that the changes agreed in Brussels will fall short of reopening the Withdrawal Agreement and so will not go as far as Brexiteers want.

It is understood that Downing Street is warning Brexiteers that if Mrs May’s deal fails, the UK will end up with the so-called Norway option, favoured by Remainer Tories and many Labour MPs, of staying in the customs union and single market, subject to EU rules with no ability to change them.

It would mean the UK would be forced to accept uncontrolled immigration from the EU while being unable to strike free trade deals with the rest of the world.

A senior government source said “it is a Remainer Parliament” and suggested that an amendment by Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Tory MP Nick Boles allowing MPs to take control of the Brexit agenda would probably pass with Labour support.

A senior government source said this would lead to “the softest of all Brexits, the Norway option”. But members of Mr Rees-Mogg’s Brexiteer European Research Group (ERG) were adamant that they will not be intimidated into backing a deal from Mrs May which they argue traps the UK under Brussels rule.

Tory Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “I am sure that the Prime Minister is preparing not only to vote to keep a no-deal Brexit on the table next week, but to give a firm instruction to Conservative MPs to do the same.

“Anything less than this would fly in the face of every rule in the negotiating handbook, would signify an end to any semblance of governance and would give the EU a hammer with which to beat us into submitting to an even worse deal.”

Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom, one of the last Brexiteers left in the Cabinet, has indicated that she does not believe the EU will have moved enough.

She said: “There is still hope, but I have to say I’m deeply disappointed with what we’re hearing coming out of the EU. I do have to ask myself what game are they playing here.”

Senior members of the Tory European Research Group, led by Mr Rees-Mogg, have privately admitted that they expect some of their members to switch to backing the Prime Minister’s deal.

But the large majority of them will still oppose it, which one senior ERG member said was “more than enough” to give Mrs May another heavy defeat.

In his exclusive article Mr Rees-Mogg pointed out that no deal on March 29 “is the legal default”.

But a Parliament with a majority of Remainer MPs could block this through the Cooper/Boles amendment or a vote for an extension. Meanwhile, a BMG poll of 1,510 adults has revealed public disillusionment with MPs.

Of those polled 39 per cent believe that MPs put EU interests above British interests.

The Government was also coming under pressure to delay a £1billion contract for Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fleet Solid Support vessels. Under the EU defence directive the contract is expected to be awarded to Spain. But if Britain leaves without a deal it can give the work to British shipyards.


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