Jacob Rees-Mogg has greeted the passing of the Brady amendment - which calls for ‘alternative amendments’ in place of the backstop - by saying the EU will be feeling “foolish” that Theresa May’s deal did not garner support in its original form.
The EU has indicated it will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, which Mr Rees-Mogg likening to it "kneecapping" the UK for leaving.
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On Tuesday evening (January 29), Sir Graham Brady’s amendment was passed, with Mrs May now planning to go back to Brussels to renegotiate the backstop.
'They want to kneecap you as you leave'
“The Withdrawal Agreement has been roundly rejected by Parliament, blasted by a majority of 230 votes,” Mr Rees-Mogg told Julia Hartley-Brewer.
“If they think that the Withdrawal Agreement is not negotiable then we will have to leave without an agreement.
“That’s the position that they have decided upon. This puts it back to them, they must decide – do they want our £39 billion?”
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Asked by Hartley-Brewer if the EU wants to “punish” the UK, Mr Rees-Mogg replied: “That’s always been one of the interesting questions about Brexit, and I’ve always thought that if they want to punish us that is a reason for wanting to leave.
“If the EU is the sort of organisation that wishes to kneecap you if you leave, you don’t want to belong to it in the first place. You want to get out with your knees intact as early as possible.
“It’s probably that the Commission feels that it has lost face because it told member states that it could get this deal through. Therefore they’re embarrassed and feel a little bit foolish having told member states that it would work.
“I would have thought they would realise with 60 days to go or thereabouts it would be better to look at other options.
He added that, although he thought it was unlikely the government would not pursue a no deal Brexit as a matter of policy, it could happy if the EU is not willing to renegotiate.
“If the EU ultimately wants a punishment Brexit or simply does not have the flexibility to negotiate then a no deal Brexit might happen by accident,” he said.
“I think it’s unlikely that MPs will overturn the result of the referendum.”