Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Innovative Housing Crisis Solution

Jacob Rees-Mogg has co-authored a paper for the Institute of Economic Affairs along with top wonk Radomir Tylecote on how to use freedom-based solutions to tackle the housing crisis. The package of solutions include cutting stamp duty, permitted development rights for individual streets, and importantly selectively re-classifying some ‘green belt’ designated land that achieves none of its official purposes. Harder for Tory grassroots to dismiss this when even Jacob Rees-Mogg is saying nimbyism has gone too far…

‘Green belt’ land includes large areas of scrubland and even brownfield sites. Building on just 3.9% of London’s green belt near railway stations would provide one million well connected new homes – replacing parts of the green belt that are not green or pleasant at all. This is a policy that would help fix one of the biggest problems facing Britain today, and it wouldn’t cost a thing…

Mogg Calls for EU Student Subsidies to Go to Students From Developing World Instead

Jacob Rees-Mogg has come up with the most interesting suggestion yet in the row over EU student subsidies after Brexit – instead of continuing to give subsidies to students from “some of the richest, most well-to-do countries in the world”, give them to students from the world’s developing countries instead. Global Britain is not just a slogan…

International students from outside the EU currently get slammed by the double whammy of huge fees with no access to student finance, making it far harder for students from poorer countries to come to the UK on merit. Funny how it’s the Remainers who would normally be the first to tell people to check their white privilege who are leaping to defend it now…

Tory Leadership Hopefuls: Who Are You?

We could be days away from a Tory leadership race if Theresa May loses a no confidence vote. The jostling for position on the Tory benches is becoming blatant. Leadership hopefuls are tapping up donors for support, assembling campaign teams and beaming as they glad-hand fellow MPs. With that in mind WPI Strategy commissioned a 2,000 head poll from Deltapoll with fieldwork done last week (25/26 March). They asked the public “Who would you recognise in the street?”

David Lidington would be recognised by 1 in 20 people – which seems on the high side. Liz Truss would be recognised by 1 in 14 people proving that not everyone is on Instagram. Dominic Raab will be disappointed that his brief profile raising period as Brexit Secretary means that 1 in 9 people claim they know his face. Then we get into potential leaders who do have some recognition with voters. Amber, Saj and Hunt are recognised by a quarter to a third of voters, Mogg (who is not running) and Gove are recognised by two fifths of voters. There is only one candidate who stands out with over three quarters of the public recognising him – Boris.

Rees-Mogg: I Won’t Back the Deal Unless the DUP are on Board

Theresa May’s promise to step down last night if the deal passes looks to have unlocked substantially more support for the deal – a clear majority of the ERG have now come over including big beasts Boris and IDS – although a hard core of around 20-30 diggers-in remains. They are “still looking for a ditch in which to die”, in the words of one MP there…

May’s biggest hurdle now is the DUP, who put out a fresh statement last night confirming they still could not support the deal, before Nigel Dodds brutally put down any suggestion that they could abstain instead of voting against it:

Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has now been branded everything from “traitor” to “eurofederalist” after saying it’s May’s deal or no Brexit on Monday, reiterated his position on Peston last night that he will still vote against the deal unless the DUP are on board. However, he does suggest how domestic law could be used to address the DUP’s concerns. Will it be enough? We’ll find out soon enough…

UPDATE: It’s still a no from the DUP according to Laura Kuenssberg “For avoidance of doubt, DUP will vote against agreement tomorrow, party source says”

 

Mogg Explains Why May’s Deal is Better than Remain

“Is this deal worse than not leaving? No. Definitely not.”

Mogg explained to ConservativeHome’s Mark Wallace that having a treaty obligation to the European Union is not a good position, but a much better one than membership of the European Union. Instead of EU law being superior to UK law, as with membership, under May’s deal the UK would be subject to international law rather than European law. It’s hard to disagree that May’s deal, bad as it is, isn’t a step in the right direction…

Mogg: It’s Mrs May’s Deal or No Brexit

Speaking to ConservativeHome yesterday, Jacob Rees-Mogg admitted that “the Prime Minister will not deliver a no deal Brexit.” Speaking about the “hierarchy of choice”, the ERG Chairman revealed he believes that “No Deal is better than Mrs May’s Deal but Mrs May’s Deal is better than not leaving at all. … Is this deal worse than not leaving? No, definitely not. If we take this deal we are legally out of the EU… Being legally out is of great importance. It restores our independence.”

Following last night’s votes, Brexit has never been in more danger of being lost. MPs seem likely to favour permanent Customs Union membership and seek to lock the UK in to many other of the worst facets of EU membership. MV3 is likely to be Brexiteer’s last best hope of starting the process of actually leaving…

Rees-Mogg: Bad Deal is Better than Remaining in the EU

Jacob Rees-Mogg sums up the incredibly difficult dilemma facing Brexiteers – if no deal is no longer an option, then is May’s deal better than no Brexit at all? Rees-Mogg told LBC:

“The deal is still a very bad deal, it doesn’t deliver on the promises of the Conservative Party manifesto and it doesn’t deliver on the referendum result in full. The question people like me will ultimately have to answer is, can we get to no deal instead? … I’m concerned that the Prime Minister in spite of her previous commitments is determined to stop no deal…

“No deal is better than a bad deal but a bad deal is better than Remaining in the European Union.”

He’s not wrong…

UPDATE: Rees-Mogg’s response to a caller saying that May’s deal is worse than Remain sets out the Brexiteer’s dilemma even more clearly. If the UK does not Leave now the political establishment will never allow Brexiteers to even have a sniff of the exit door in the future. The idea that we will get a better deal after a two-year delay is fantasy, Remainers will be fully in control of the process by then…

Remainers have successfully moved the debate entirely onto the economic relationship since the referendum – many Brexiteers seem to have forgotten that their key objective before the referendum was getting out of the political structures of the EU. Those who are saying they would rather Remain now need to think very carefully about their priorities…

Rees-Mogg: ERG Will Only Vote For Deal if Brexit Itself is Threatened

ERG chair Jacob Rees-Mogg has told Kay Burley that the ERG haven’t yet decided which way to vote on the new meaningful vote this evening. JRM says the ERG will be meeting at 5pm to discuss whether the threat of no Brexit is real or “phantom”. Only if Brexit is at risk altogether will they consider voting for what is still a “bad deal”…

ERG Splits On Latest Brexit Vote Overblown

Last night’s Brexit votes were notable less for what they were than the way Tory MPs voted on them. The Government ultimately accepted the new Cooper Amendment F which recommitted them to the timetable for a vote on delaying Brexit that May first offered on Tuesday, imposing a poorly organised three-line whip in favour of the amendment which led to chaos in the voting lobbies. Chris Grayling was spotted in the wrong lobby and the Prime Minister reportedly even had to ask a whip which way to vote…

Despite the confusion, over 100 Tory MPs directly defied the three-line whip to abstain or even vote against the amendment, not a remotely trivial number in itself. However the most interesting subplot that emerged was the split between the 88 MPs who abstained, and the 20 MPs who directly voted against it, including Esther McVey and Bill Cash. Could this be the start of the split between the hard core who will never vote for May’s deal under any circumstances and the group who could come round to it if enough concessions are secured by Geoffrey Cox? Even more significantly, does this signify the minimum number of Tory MPs who would vote for May’s removal in a vote of no confidence if she were to extend Article 50?

ERG sources have played down the significance of the split, the ERG were naturally opposed to the amendment but beyond that were not particularly fussed about whether to vote against it or simply to abstain, given its ultimate lack of significance. Guido also understands that reports of splits emerging between Boris and Rees-Mogg on the one hand and Steve Baker on the other have been much overblown – while Jacob did hint at a slight softening of his position on full-on treaty change to the backstop yesterday, sources close to the three have categorically dismissed reports of any splits emerging between them. Everything still hinges on what, if anything, Cox can bring back from Brussels…

The 20 MPs who voted against the Cooper amendment outright were:

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Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Brexit Song

Jacob Rees-Mogg has sportingly given a retweet to this well-made spoof video of him singing some fairly dubious lines about Brexit to the tune of Pulp’s Common People. Ever classy Rees-Mogg commented:

“My more pedantic followers will be distressed that this video ends “alright” rather than “all right”, otherwise it is a clever spoof.”

Nice to see satire and comedy being received with good humour rather than the obligatory jumping on board the outrage bus which has taken over today…

‘The Malthouse Compromise’: Leavers and Remainers Unite Behind Brexit ‘Plan C’

In an unexpected development late last night, reports began to leak out of a secret compromise hammered out between Brexiteers including Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker and Remainers including Nicky Morgan and Stephen Hammond. Even Remain-leaning Government ministers Robert Buckland and Kit Malthouse are on board, with Baker crediting Malthouse for bringing the warring factions together as he confirmed the reports which somehow managed to remain secret until last night. Remarkable given the range of people involved…

According to the messages sent to Tory MPs by Nicky Morgan last night, The ‘Malthouse Compromise’ would’:

  • Replace the backstop with the alternative protocol from the ‘Better Deal’ report launched last month, which would be “acceptable indefinitely”.
  • Extend the transition period for up to a year until the end of 2021 to give time for a smooth transition to a new relationship (Plan A).
  • Include a “triple safety net” around exiting with no Withdrawal Agreement:
    • Continue to offer ‘Plan A’
    • Agree a standstill transition period with the UK paying its financial commitments
    • Offer a GATT 24 WTO-compliant standstill on trade with no tariffs, no quantitative restrictions and no new barriers for execution” to come into force at the end of 2021 if the future relationship has not been agreed by then

Morgan says that “this would allow time for both parties to prepare properly for WTO terms, but also provide a period in which the parties could obviate this outcome by negotiating a mutually beneficial future relationship”. EU citizens’ rights would be guaranteed in all circumstances.

The big question is how this plan relates to today’s Parliamentary action. There are no amendments specifically related to it for MPs or even the Government to get behind, but the broad coalition of support behind it makes it impossible to ignore. Guido understands that Downing Street is interested in the proposals but has concerns about technical aspects around SPS checks…

Brexiteers remain divided over whether to support Sir Graham Brady’s amendment on renegotiating the Irish backstop, despite Theresa May giving it her official backing last night. Liam Fox confirmed on Today that the Government would be seeking to reopen the legal text of the deal if the amendment passed, potentially reassuring Brexiteers that it is not simply going to be ‘Operation Figleaf Mk II’. Guido cannot see any good reason for Brexiteers not to support Brady’s amendment, it is compatible with the ‘Malthouse Compromise’ and the best chance of changing the worst aspect of May’s deal…

Rees-Mogg Hints at Brexit Compromise if Backstop Goes

Jacob Rees-Mogg has dropped some strong hints that he may be prepared to soften his stance on Theresa May’s Brexit deal if the backstop is taken out. The ERG Chairman told a packed Bruges Group event that “as long as the backstop is there, I will not vote for the deal,” but added that “there is hope that there could be reformation of this deal to make it more acceptable.” The Moggster added that he felt things were “going our way” with EU splits beginning to open up with Poland and, significantly, Ireland, while insisting that he was not going soft:

“I like reading the papers that I’ve become a soft touch. I do whatever my children tell me. And they’re all staunch Eurosceptics.”

This could prove to be a smart move from the ERG, by flat-out opposing any form of the deal they risked condemning themselves to irrelevance, particularly if Yvette Cooper succeeds in ramming a juggernaut through the constitution next week. By focusing their demands on the more realistic target of the backstop they could see momentum swing back their way – even if the backstop is not removed altogether, legally binding changes are looking more feasible than before. As Rees-Mogg wrote himself on Sunday, “Even Mrs May’s deal would be better than not leaving at all”…

UPDATE: Boris has also hinted at a possible compromise if the deal changes, saying on the way past out of Number 10 that “if we negotiate with conviction… we can secure the changes that we need”…

May’s Deal Better Than No Brexit

Jacob Rees Mogg writes

“If I had to choose between no deal and Mrs May’s original accord, I would have no hesitation of opting for no-deal Brexit but even Mrs May’s deal would be better than not leaving at all.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg Gets His Own Weekly Show on LBC

Jacob Rees-Mogg fans will be rejoicing at the news that they are about to get even more of the Moggster, he is getting his own weekly show on LBC starting tonight. DJ Mogg’s half-hour phone-in with Nick Ferrari every fortnight has always been a good listen, now he will get his own hour-long slot at 6pm on Fridays which he wants to use to find out “what the public really thinks”. Vox populi, vox dei…

Christmas Peace

Rees-Mogg on the PM inviting him to No. 10 for Christmas drinks…

“Even the policeman on the door looked surprised…”

Soubry vs the ERG on May

Various Tory factions have been setting out their stalls ahead of tonight’s confidence vote in the Prime Minister. The ERG’s Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker have said:

“Theresa May’s plan would bring down the government if carried forward. But our Party will rightly not tolerate it. Conservatives must now answer whether they wish to draw ever closer to an election under Mrs May’s leadership. In the national interest, she must go.”

The unspoken fear is that If May wins today she will fight the next election – and Tories will be slaughtered. The DUP will not support the government if May leads it on the current course. So “Vote May, get Corbyn.”

Meanwhile, Anna Soubry has hit out… at the ERG itself, attacking them as:

“A rump of hard right, hard Brexiteers. They should have been booted out by previous leaders. They behave appallingly and only represent themselves and their warped ideology. They need to get a life but they don’t have lives because they’re obsessed with Europe.”

A bit rich from Soubry given that she’s rebelled vastly more times than Brexiteers over the last two years…

Jacob Rees Mogg and Caroline Lucas to Feature in Channel 4 Debate

Channel 4 has reportedly confirmed Jacob Rees Mogg and Caroline Lucas to represent ‘No Deal’ and ‘Remain’ respectively in their debate scheduled for Sunday. The Government and Labour Party representatives are yet to be determined…

DUP: We’d “Rather Be Shafted By Labour” Than Accept Backstop

Tory MPs turned out in force for last night’s weekly ERG meeting, with around 80 MPs in attendance as well as notable guests including Chief Whip Julian Smith and May’s Deputy Chief of Staff, JoJo Penn. Jacob Rees-Mogg informed the ERG of the outcome of his and Steve Baker’s earlier meeting with Nigel Dodds, where Dodds made clear that the DUP would support the Government in any confidence motion if the Withdrawal Agreement was rejected. If the Withdrawal Agreement went through their support was far from certain…

Also in attendance were DUP MPs Sammy Wilson – who was “cheered to the rafters” by Tory MPs – and Ian Paisley Jr, who made the point directly to Julian Smith’s face that while the DUP had been very happy working with the Tories, they would “rather be shafted by Labour” than accept the backstop. As Dodds pointed out later on Peston, you don’t need a General Election to bring down a government:

Smith himself addressed the meeting later on, while he didn’t get a hostile reception from the ERG, his points were all shot down in the detail. Smith suggested that some tinkering was possible but gave an impression of a government that was reluctant to ask EU member states for any further changes. The overall message remained clear: it’s the PM’s deal or nothing, the Government has no other plans. And they wonder why the EU has been able to play them like a fiddle from start to finish…

Mogg: Government Could Win Meaningful Vote

Speaking on ConservativeHome’s MoggCast, Jacob Rees-Mogg revealed he is “not rule[ing] out the possibility of the Government winning” next week’s meaningful vote on the withdrawal agreement, and that he expects it will be won or lost by a margin of “plus or minus five.” Shooting down media expectations of a crushing triple figure defeat for the Government, the ERG chairman is being a lot more conservative with numbers than his group was being two weeks ago…

Ashcroft Writing Biography of Jacob Rees-Mogg

Michael Ashcroft is writing a biography of the Moggster with the working title “Jacob’s Ladder” to be published by his publisher Biteback this summer. Which is likely to be too late to influence a Tory leadership election…

Lord Ashcroft thinks Rees-Mogg stands out among the current crop of politicians.[…] Read the rest

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