Brexit will be achieved – even if it takes the creation of 1,000 new peers, a purge of the Europhiles, and a general election, a prominent Eurosceptic MP has vowed.
Writing in The Telegraph on Thursday’s High Court decision to prevent the government invoking Article 50 without the approval of parliament, senior Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg has pledged that Brexit will take place, vowing to do whatever it takes to achieve it.
Rees-Mogg conceded that the Supreme Court may reach the same decision as the High Court when the government appeals the decision, “in which case, Parliament must legislate,” he said.
“This could be done through a small Bill that merely gives a Minister the right to give notice under Article 50 and need not run to more than a couple of clauses. Such a Bill could be passed within hours – but it is possible it could be obstructed.”
But although Rees-Mogg recognised that there could be obstruction at this stage from “foolhardy” MPs willing to “challenge the clear will of the British electorate”, he added: “Many Remain MPs to whom I have spoken would not seek to do so.”
Even if the Remainers were able to vote the Bill down, Rees-Mogg says, the outcome would be a general election, allowing the people to make their voices heard again.
“The Conservative Party has nothing to fear from a general election. I think we would win it quite comfortably and the electorate would very likely carry out a purge of pro-Europeans,” he said.
The greater threat, he believes, is posed by “sore losing Remainers” in the House of Lords.
“In the more likely event that the House of Lords refused the Bill, then we would be in peers versus the people territory akin to 1909-11, when the Lords sought to block the Budget passed by the Commons,” he said.
“When this happens, the Lords always loses. One way round the difficulty would be to create a thousand new peers to overcome the Remain majority in the Upper House.
“The United Kingdom will leave the European Union and this decision ought not to cause any delay.”
Speaking after the ruling on Thursday, Nigel Farage admitted he was concerned that the court ruling could be just the start of the undermining of Brexit, saying: “I think we could be at the beginning, with this ruling, of a process where there is deliberate, wilful attempt by our political class to betray 17.4 million voters.”
Yet Rees-Mogg’s avowal marks a note of confidence among Eurosceptics, which may be crucial if the Brexit process is not to become mired in process.