Leading pro-Brexit member of parliament Jacob Rees-Mogg has demanded the government “fundamentally change” its tone on Brexit, as the remain-supporting Chancellor called for a clean Brexit to be abandoned with only “very modest” changes to the UK’s links with the bloc.
Mr. Rees-Mogg leads parliament’s powerful European Research Group (EGR), which is backed by around 60 Brexiteer MPs who could threaten to vote against the government.
According to the Telegraph’s Christopher Hope, in a speech at Churcher’s College in Petersfield, in Hampshire, he will say:
The government’s tone on Brexit needs to fundamentally change. If [Brexit’s opportunities are] taken off the table then Brexit becomes only a damage limitation exercise. The British people did not vote for that. They didn’t vote for management of decline.
If we are timid and cowering and terrified of the future, then our children will judge us in the balance and find us wanting,” he will blast, continuing:
There is a great Brexit opportunity and some really obvious benefits that we can get that improve the condition of the people. This is… at risk. The negotiations… sound as if they aim to keep us in a similar system to the Single Market and the Customs Union.
The Customs Union is worse. It protects industries that we often do not have and helps continental producers on the back of UK consumers. The EU-funded CBI, that lover of vested interests, wants it to favor inefficient encumbrance against poor consumers.”
Whether it is ‘a’ or ‘the’ Customs Union it is a protectionist racket that damages the interests of the wider economy.
Commentators have described the intervention as a “declaration of war” by MPs worried about the government keeping the UK tied to Customs Union and EU rules, and thereby not maximizing the opportunities of Brexit.
Brexit supporting MPs are yet to rebel on the issue since the referendum – despite numerous concessions to the EU, including the transition period, the role of European courts, and the ‘divorce bill’ – and rumours of a coming backlash are building.
Theresa May has also promised to maintain “full regulatory alignment” between the UK and EU and will reportedly create “a customs union” between Britain and the bloc, which could stop the UK controlling its trade policy after Brexit.
BIG MOMENT KLAXON This is effectively a declaration of war by at least 60 Eurosceptic backbench Conservative MPs on Theresa May and her team at 10 Downing Street over the Brexit talks. https://t.co/3MPlkZjDh7
— Christopher Hope (@christopherhope) January 25, 2018
Phillip Hammond, the Chancellor, angered Brexiteers further today in an address at Davos, applauded a call by the CBI for Britain to have the “closest possible relationship between the EU and UK post-Brexit”.
“We are taking two completely interconnected and aligned economies with high levels of trade and selectively moving them, hopefully very modestly apart,” he added.
Mr. Rees-Mogg is expected to lead the pushback, which may take form over the Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Bill. The law would provide the government with powers to keep the country in the European Union customs union.
Appeaser Theresa Could Keep UK Tied to EU Customs Union After Brexit https://t.co/fO0ZlPXS2H
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 6, 2018