Jacob Rees-Mogg has denounced Number 10’s customs partnership as a “betrayal of good sense” at an Open Europe event in the Commons this afternoon. The Mogg was clear May’s hybrid model was not acceptable to Brexiters:
“It’s completely cretinous… it’s a betrayal of good sense, I cannot understand why government is faffing around with this system. I’m on the same side as Mr Barnier on this, god bless him.”
He insisted there was “no prospect” that Number 10 could u-turn on its customs union red line:
“No deal is a pretty good deal… things like staying in the customs union would be a bad deal… [it] would not be delivering the result of the referendum. David Cameron spent taxpayers money delivering a leaflet saying we would be leaving the single market and the customs union… There are two parts of the customs union, common external tariff means you cannot offer lower tariffs to trading partners in rest of the world, then there is the regulatory side… being in the customs union means you become a tariff taker and rule taker and you end up worse off than you would be as a member of the EU.”
And says if they did cave on the customs union the Tories would lose the next election:
“Say this government took leave of its senses and decided to keep us effectively in EU by staying in the customs union… who would vote for us?… I don’t see how politically this is going to work… I don’t think it will happen in the first place but if it did it would be put right through ballot box.”
He made the point that those seeking to force Number 10 to cave on the customs union are Remainers trying to overturn the result:
“The reason people want to keep us in the single market and the customs union is that they never wanted us to leave and don’t like the result of the referendum.”
He said that Theresa May is a “very enigmatic figure” about Brexit and that “it is hard to know what level of enthusiasm” she has for her government’s main policy.
Have Number 10 got the message about their fudge yet?