Theresa May told to ignore the Brexit 'bluster' of Jacob Rees-Mogg

GettyNicky Morgan and Jacob Rees-Mogg
  • Exclusive: Former Conservative Education Secretary Nicky Morgan urges Theresa May to ignore Jacob Rees-Mogg’s latest intervention on Brexit and the Irish border.
  • Leading Brexiteer Conservative MP Rees-Mogg has accused the EU of having “faux concern” about Ireland and told Theresa May to consider walking away with no deal.
  • Speaking to Business Insider, Morgan accused Rees-Mogg of being “a Brexiteer who knows he is being called out by reality.”
  • Morgan also warned the prime minister that she is running out of time to secure a Brexit deal.

LONDON – The former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has urged Theresa May to ignore the “bluster” of leading Conservative Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, saying his latest comments on the Irish border prove he is a “Brexiteer who knows he is being called out by reality.”

Speaking to Business Insider on Wednesday, the Conservative MP for Loughborough, who campaigned for Britain to Remain in the EU, said she didn’t think “we should be listening” to Rees-Mogg in response to his latest article for The Telegraph.

Rees-Mogg – who heads the anti-EU European Reform Group of Conservative MPs – used the article to accuse the European Union of having “faux concern” about the Irish situation and urge Theresa May to leave with no-deal if her proposals for avoiding a hard border are rejected by Brussels.

“The UK will simply have to leave with no deal because the referendum result must be upheld,” Rees-Mogg wrote.”The commission hides behind faux concern for the Irish border undermining the single market … We will not impose a border.”

However, Morgan – who also heads the Treasury select committee – told BI: “I don’t think they’re sound pieces of advice. I think they are bluster from a Brexiteer who knows he is being called out by reality.”

I think they are bluster from a Brexiteer who knows he is being called out by reality.

She added: “Should people take advice on the Northern Ireland border issue from Jacob Rees-Mogg, or from the senior police officer who on Newsnight made very clear the dangers infrastructure on the border?”

Morgan said Mogg should be ignored on the issue, having refused to visit the border along with his colleagues on the Brexit select committee.

“Jacob had refused to visit Northern Ireland to see the situation for himself. I don’t think we should be listening to him. The prime minister made it clear when she met with him on Monday, that she doesn’t agree with his interpretation of Northern Ireland.”

BI spoke to Morgan days after the Conservative MP took to a stage in Essex alongside former deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, and former Labour MP David Miliband, to urge May to embrace a soft, “sensible” Brexit.

“Time is marching on”

Morgan welcomed news that the government is set to publish a 100-page white paper on Britain’s future relationship with the EU in the coming weeks, but questioned why it had taken this long.

“Well, it’s a good thing to have more information out there,” Morgan said.

“However, we’ve had these promises before from David Davis about there being lots of work going on across Whitehall and then it turned out to be nowhere near as detailed as people had expected.

“The other thing is, it’s leaving it very late in the day to publish this kind of white paper. We had the position paper last summer – what’s been going on between now and then? It seems strange to have the paper published after the Cabinet sub-committee tried to reach an agreement and failed.”

She then warned Prime Minister May that time was running out of time to secure a Brexit deal.

“Time is very precious and it is marching on,” she said. I’m not sure that we are heading for ‘max-fac’ because the prime minister is still, as far as we can tell, still very much pro-customs partnership. They wouldn’t be seeking legal advice on the model if it wasn’t still on the table. But time is marching on.

“Everyone is very surprised that almost two years after the referendum, and this far into the Article process, a key plank of the UK’s relationship with the EU post-Brexit is still out there for discussion.”

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