Jacob Rees-Mogg says 100 Tories will not rebel on May’s Brexit deal

Jacob Rees-Mogg brands predictions that 100 Tories will rebel against May’s Brexit deal ‘ridiculously inflated’ and says the crunch vote will be lost or won by just a handful of MPs

  • Leading Tory Brexiteer played down speculation PM will suffer massive defeat 
  • He said the crunch Brexit vote on December 11 is likely be lost or won by 5 votes 
  • Some 101 Conservative MPs indicated they will not back Theresa May’s deal 
  • If she loses the vote, it will unleash political chaos two weeks before Christmas 

Tory rebel ringleader Jacob Rees-Mogg (pictured in the Commons today) has said predictions 100 Conservative MPs will vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal are ‘ridiculously inflated’

Tory rebel ringleader Jacob Rees-Mogg has said predictions 100 Conservative MPs will vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal are ‘ridiculously inflated’.

The leading Eurosceptic instead predicted that next week’s crunch ballot will come down to just a handful of votes either way.

The PM is in the political battle of her life to get her divorce deal passed by MPs while her premiership hangs by a thread.

She will stand up in the Commons this afternoon to urge politicians to back her deal in the national interest.

Her agreement is expected to be voted down next Tuesday after a staggering 101 Tory MPs indicated they cannot back it, and the DUP also pulled their critical support.

But Mr Rees-Mogg, chairman of the Brexit-backing European Research Group, warned predictions she will suffer a massive defeat are probably wide of the mark.

He told his weekly ConHome podcast: ‘I think the numbers have got ridiculously inflated I think whatever happens, it will be a close result and I would not rule out the possibility of the Government winning.

‘I think in the end it will depend on whether there are more Labour supporters of the Government than there are Conservative opponents of the Government.

‘The Government, of course, was very unwise to lose the support of the Democratic Unionists, because that makes its job much harder to start with.

 ‘We will have to see whether the Government pulls any rabbits out of a hat between now and next Tuesday.

‘But plus or minus five, I think is where it is likely to end up. Not minus a hundred or any of these silly numbers.’

He said the crunch vote next Tuesday could come down to how many Labour MPs the PM convinces to back her deal – and how many Tories hold their nerve and revel.

The Tory MP for North East Somerset pointed out that British governments rarely lose votes, and a defeat on her flagship Brexit plan would be a major blow for the PM.

Theresa May (pictured leaving No10 today), who is expected to be defeated on  the crunch Brexit vote on December 11, will appeal to  MPs to back her deal in the Commons later today

Britain can stop Brexit without the EU’s permission, lawyer concludes

The UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 without EU member states’ permission, an EU judge said today in a significant boost to Remainers who say it paves the way for Brexit to be cancelled. 

The most senior judge at the European Court of Justice has concluded Britain would not need approval from the 27 other states to halt the process – and could retain the same membership terms.  

The opinion from Advocate General Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona comes after months of legal wrangling – with both the EU and the UK government trying to kill the case off.

The advice suggests if the PM’s deal is voted down and the UK voted Remain in a second referendum before 29 March next year, Brexit could be stopped in its tracks.

Tory MP Dominic Grieve, who backs a second referendum, said the news was ‘clearly significant’. 

‘It is certainly helpful as it removes one of the arguments that they would not allow us to change our minds,’ he said. 

Hitting back at the legal advice, the PM’s spokesman said: ‘The position of the Government has always been that it will not be revoked.’ 

The developments came as Theresa May prepares to open the Commons debate on her Brexit deal, with defeat looking inevitable in an historic vote next week.

With the threat of a constitutional crisis mounting and the formal date for leaving the EU just months away, politicians have been desperately casting around for options.  

 

 He said: ‘It is not all done and dusted and that is why the Prime Minister is campaigning so hard for this. She must think she is in with a chance.’

Mr Rees-Mogg added: ‘It is very rare and very hard for governments to lose votes. It does happen occasionally, but it’s highly, highly unusual because of party loyalty party discipline patronage the general power of the state

‘And so if it is lost, even by one vote, that is a very, very dramatic result.’

Mr Rees-Mogg launched a failed attempt to oust Mrs May from No10 after she came back with her Brexit deal last month.

He held a hastily arranged press conference outside Parliament where he announced he announced he had no confidence in the PM and talked up possible leadership contenders.

His coup failed as Tory rebels failed to get the 48 letters of no confidence needed to trigger a vote in Mrs May and a possible leadership contest.

But if the PM’s deal gets voted down by big numbers next week, more no confidence letters could drop and Mrs May’s premiership could come crashing down.

His remarks come in yet another day of high drama in the Brexit debate, both in Britain and Europe.

The European Court of Justice concluded Britain can stop Brexit by revoking Article 50 – the technical agreement which starts the clock on the UK’s departure – without needing the permission of EU member states.  

The opinion from Advocate General Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona comes after months of legal wrangling – with both the EU and the UK government trying to kill the case off. 

The advice suggests if the PM’s deal is voted down and the UK voted Remain in a second referendum before 29 March next year, Brexit could be stopped in its tracks.

Meanwhile, in Westminster, Mrs May is facing a dramatic bid to derail her Brexit plans today.


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Tory rebel Dominic Grieve has tabled an amendment to the PM’s deal that could give MPs power to direct the government on what to do in talks with Brussels.

They are also trying to ambush the government by pushing it to a vote this evening – rather than at the end of the marathon debate.   

While in a separate attack on the Government being debated today, MPs are launching an historic bid to try to find ministers in contempt of Parliament over their refusal to publish the full legal advice on the Brexit deal. 

Labour joined forces with Tory rebels, the DUP, the SNP and Lib Dems to mount the attack, which could see Attorney General Geoffrey Cox suspended from the Commons punishment. 

If they are successful, it would be the first time a minster was ever found in contempt of Parliament.         

Who are the Tory MPs who have indicated they will not back Theresa May’s Brexit deal? 

 39. Trudy Harrison, Copeland

40. Andrew Lewer, Northampton South

41. Nigel Mills, Amber Valley

42. Martin Vickers, Cleethorpes

43. Richard Bacon, South Norfolk

44. Philip Davies, Shipley 

45. Anne-Marie Morris, Newton Abbot

46. James Gray, North Wiltshire

47. Adam Holloway, Gravesham

48. Crispin Blunt, Reigate

49. Richard Drax, South Dorset

50. Philip Hollobone, Kettering        

51. Laurence Robertson, Tewkesbury 

52. Bill Wiggin, North Herefordshire, 

53. Pauline Latham, Mid Derbyshire 

54. Nigel Evans, Ribble Valley 

55. Scott Mann, North Cornwall 

56. Tim Loughton,East Worthing and Shoreham 

57. Zac Goldsmith, Richmond Park 

58. Robert Courts, Witney 

59. Michael Fabricant, Lichfield 

60. Michael Tomlinson, Mid Dorset and North Poole 

61. Damian Collins, Folkestone and Hythe 

62. Jo Johnson, Orpington 

63. Phillip Lee, Bracknell 

64. Heidi Allen, South Cambridgeshire. 

65. Justine Greening, Putney  

66. Dominic Grieve, Beaconsfield. 

67. Dominic Raab, Esher and Walton 

68. Esther McVey, Tatton  

69. Shailesh Vara, North West Cambridgeshire 

70. Rehman Chishti, Gillingham   

  71. Ranil Jayawardena, North East Hampshire

72. Suella Braverman, Fareham 

73. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Berwick-upon-Tweed 

74. Hugo Swire, East Devon 

75. Neil Parish, Tiverton and Honiton 

76. Steve Double, St Austell and Newquay 

77. Theresa Villiers, Chipping Barnet 

78. Royston Smith, Southampton Itchen

 79. Mark Pritchard, The Wrekin 

80. Grant Shapps, Welwyn Hatfield 

81. Damien Moore,Southport 

82. Daniel Kawczynski, Shrewsbury and Atcham

83. Lucy Allan, Telford

84. David Evennett, Bexleyheath and Crayford 

85. Anna Soubry, Broxtowe 

86. Rob Halfon, Harlow 

87. Bob Stewart,  Beckenham 

88. Gordon Henderson, Sittingbourne and Sheppey 

89. Stephen Metcalfe, South Basildon and East Thurrock 

90. John Baron, Basildon and Billericay 

91. Julia Lopez,Hornchurch & Upminster 

92. John Hayes, South Holland and The Deepings 

93. Sarah Wollaston, Totnes 

94. Guto Bebb, Aberconwy 

95. Tracey Crouch, Chatham and Aylesford 

96. Sir Michael Fallon, Sevenoaks 

97. Douglas Ross, Moray 

98. Derek Thomas, St Ives 

99. Sir Robert Syms, Poole 

100Matthew Offord , Hendon 

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