Jacob Rees-Mogg has sent a bullish message to the European Union this morning, suggesting Britain has no legal obligation to pay the so-called 'divorce bill'.
Rees-Mogg, widely seen as a future Tory leadership contender, also said that if the UK wishes to hand over any money to the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit, this would require an Act of Parliament and MPs would reject it.
Reports have suggested the government is ready to pay nearly £50m as part of its Brexit financial settlement, but Rees-Mogg said Theresa May and her ministers will not have support across the country if they pay out vast sums of money to the EU without getting anything in return for Brexit.
Rees-Mogg told Julia Hartley-Brewer: “The government will not have support across the country if it pays out vast sums of money for nothing.
“This wouldn’t be supported in the country and politicians ultimately are answerable to the electorate.”
He believes “we have no legal obligation under international EU or UK law to pay anything if we leave without a deal...that’s a very strong negotiating position.
“If the EU doesn’t want to take negotiations further well we need to be making preparations for a no deal exit in which circumstance we don’t pay them tens of billions of pounds.”
The MP also thinks the Irish border issue is “a trade issue. To try and divide it from trade was always as I say inconsistent.”
Rees-Mogg thinks the UK should “simply say as the British that we will not have a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of ireland and then if the EU wants to impose one then that’s a matter for them but we won’t help them do it we won’t impose it .”
He added: “I don’t think the DUP supporting the Government is an issue because the Conservative Party is a unionist party.”
Listen to the full interview above