Jacob Rees-Mogg has said that the EU is “unlikely” to give the UK a “punishment Brexit” because the UK has a £95bn trade deficit with the EU.
The Chairman of the European Research Group told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “I was in a taxi yesterday and the taxi driver said to me that when he voted, he did not vote for deal or no deal.
“He voted to leave and that is what he expects to happen. I think that is the view of the majority of the British people.”
He added: “There is always another choice and that is that we leave without a deal and we don’t pay the £39bn.
“So when they say that there is no chance of renegotiating – fine, that is their position – we don’t pay them the money.
“We can leave and trade with the rest of the world on WTO rules and we would trade with the EU on those terms.
“Unless they decide to give us a punishment Brexit, which I happen to think is unlikely because we have a £95bn trade deficit with them so it is in their financial interest not to.”
'This rotten deal'
The Conservative MP for North East Somerset added that “the EU has to face up” to the UK has the alternative of leaving on WTO rules.
“If they follow international law – if they follow their treaty arrangements with us outside of membership of the European Union - the problems that are being hypothesised are phantom problems,” he said.
“The world will carry on and business will carry on. That is alternative and the EU has to face up to that.
“There is not a majority in Parliament for this rotten deal.”
Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Monday that there would not be a meaningful vote on her withdrawal agreement, as was expected on Tuesday afternoon.