JACOB Rees-Mogg backed the decision of David Davis to resign last night and said that Theresa May has made a “serious mistake” trying to “bounce” the Cabinet.
His comments follow a sharp exchange of letters between the former Brexit Secretary and the Prime Minister. Mr Davis notes that there has been a “significant number of occasions” on which he has disagreed with Mrs May over the course of the last year. He continued in his post because he believed it was still possible for the mandate of the referendum and on the Conservatives manifesto commitments could still be fulfilled, however, now he says this is looking “less and less likely”.
Echoing concerns expressed most pertinently in the leaked memo that was circulated amoung Tory MP’s he essentially concedes that the proposals agreed at Chequers will leave Britain as a vassal state: “In my view, the inevitable consequence of the proposed policies will be to make the supposed control by Parliament illusory rather than real. As I said at Cabinet, the “common rule book” policy hands control of large swathes of our economy to the EU and is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense.”
In conclusion, he raises the spectre of further concessions being made to the EU.
Mrs May in her reply acknowledged the contribution made by Mr Davis to the Brexit process but argued she simply did not agree with his characterisation of the Chequers agreement and said that what was agreed is “consistent” with the manifesto commitments made in 2017: “This is consistent with the mandate of the referendum and with the commitments we laid out in our general election manifesto: leaving the single market and the customs union but seeking a deep and special partnership including a comprehensive free trade and customs agreement; ending the vast annual contributions to the EU; and pursuing fair, orderly negotiations, minimising disruption and giving as much certainty as possible so both sides benefit.”
Backbench Tory Brexiteers have however been quick to voice their support for Mr Davis:
Andrea Jenkyns MP who has over the last couple of days been vocal in her criticism of Mrs May urged the beginning of a fightback and called on Boris Johnson, who has been noticeably quiet this weekend, to join Mr Davis in resigning from the government:
Mr Johnson reportedly has described the Chequers agreement as a ‘big turd’ and a source exclusively told Politicalite that “Boris will be making a speech Monday.”
The scene is now set for a tense day and one that could decide the fate of May as she is set first to address Parliment and later to meet with Tory MPs in an attempt to sell the Chequers agreement.