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Analysis

Rees-Mogg has history of backing second EU referendums

by Luke Lythgoe | 21.02.2018

Jacob Rees-Mogg is hounding the prime minister to push Brexit through as quickly as possible. The Brextremist ringleader is behind a letter, signed by 62 Tory backbenchers, laying down the law with several unworkable demands on the transition deal.

Rees-Mogg’s strategy unapologetically rejects letting the people vote on whether they want Theresa May’s Brexit deal – assuming she ever strikes one. However, this is the same Rees-Mogg who once said a double referendum to settle our relationship with the EU would “make more sense”.

During a parliamentary debate on David Cameron’s idea to renegotiate our membership with the EU in 2011, Rees-Mogg said: “We could have two referendums. As it happens, it might make more sense to have the second referendum after the renegotiation is completed.”

When challenged on this last month by Labour’s Andrew Adonis on the BBC, Rees-Mogg argued that the context was different: the proposal of a referendum to begin Cameron’s renegotiation, followed by another referendum on the terms achieved. “That was short-circuited,” Rees-Mogg argued, “when it was decided to have a straightforward in-or-out referendum.”

But the principle is just the same. We had a referendum on whether to start the Brexit process and we are now in a negotiation over our future relationship with the EU. It makes sense to have a referendum once those talks are completed, so voters can compare two concrete proposals of In and Out. In 2016, they were comparing a real proposal for In with a fantasy Out.

It’s not just that we should know more about the Brexit deal at the end of the talks, though it’s still possible Theresa May will hide in meaningless waffle. More facts about what Brexit means have emerged: on the hit to our economy, on intractable problems like the Irish border, on how such a mammoth undertaking is pushing issues people really care about to one side.

An ICM opinion poll last month suggested voters favour by a 16-point margin the idea that the people should have the final decision on whether or not to leave the EU once the terms of the UK’s departure are known. Rees-Mogg was right to back a referendum after a negotiation back in 2011. He should stick to his principles.

Rees-Mogg didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

6 Responses to “Rees-Mogg has history of backing second EU referendums”

  • Jacob Rees Mogg and his pals are probably terrified that people will work out what 2%, 5% and 8% impact on the economy means to the individual or a family. People could be forgiven for thinking the impact would be similar for them, but of course this is not the case. The Treasury Report of 2016 came up with similar numbers, but it went the extra step of relating the values to impact on an individual or family on Page 7 of the report. You can show that a 1% impact to the economy equates to about £700 pa for a family. Obviously this might not worry you if you have a large income, but 2 % would mean £1400 for a family who were ‘Just about Managing’ , which would be quite a blow. This is especially true when you consider that because income tax is progressive their contribution to the EU budget is probably less than £50 pa. And remember 2% is the least damage we can reasonably expect..

  • It does look as if there is a fighting chance that Brexit can be stopped, or at least implemented in such a way that we have limited damage. Probably without the rebate 🙁
    However, we should not forget the 62 signatories of this blackmail letter. The damage and cost that this bunch of third-rate chancers has caused over the years and, of course, more recently, is immense. We should do all in our power to see that they are deselected. They should not be able to walk away from their train-wreck. The sooner they become aware of this the sooner they will change their minds.

  • On January 23 2018 Jacob Rees Mogg actually said something sensible and potentially highly significant. Given the difficulties surrounding the negotiation of a transition period and the UK’s status during that period as what he calls a “vassal state” Rees-Mogg told David Davis that it would be better for Britain to extend Article 50 rather than continuing to accept EU laws without having a say in their making.

    I have little doubt that “the 27” would give unanimous consent to such a request from the UK government and it would mean that the UK would have all the existing representation and powers to go with the obligations (already conceded) by remaining a member of the EU until proper and satisfactory arrangements had been set up for a smooth exit – or reconsideration of the decision if that were to be demanded by the electorate once greater clarity of outcome had been revealed.

    If Rees Mogg is willing to follow this path let’s shout it from the rooftops as the way forward.

  • The Brexiteers said Brexit was about ordinary people asserting themselves against the “elite” in our society. It is difficult to imagine a politician who represents elitism in every aspect, more than Mr Rees-Mogg.

  • Just wanted to say this ,Rees-Mogg is a character from the Beano or Dandy (forget which one) Lord Snooty to a tee , pompous foolish Eton Tory twat! (sorry for that) .

  • Rees-Moggs comments about a second referendum need to be spread more widely. I just wish these politicians wouldn’t keep treating us as fools. His comments that it was said in a different context that was short-circuited by the referendum are complete weasel words. I’m not surprised he was not available for comment. The man is a complete aberration.