This evening Jacob Rees-Mogg joined Rod Liddle in being able to say he has sold out the London Palladium for a Spectator event. The arch-Brexiteer appeared before a packed crowd – of over 2,000 – for an in conversation with editor Fraser Nelson. Despite a busy day in the Commons on Brexit and a spot on the stage, the Moggster still found time in the interval to help out on the ice cream stall.
Here are seven Rees-Mogg takeaways from the event:
1. Most people who want to delay Brexit want to stop Brexit
In reference to the news today that Theresa May will give MPs a chance to vote to delay Brexit, Rees-Mogg said he questioned the motives of the politicians pushing to extend Article 50: ‘Most people who want a delay want to stop Brexit. And it is important to recognise what their main objectives are. They think that most of us are stupid. I may be ladies and gentlemen, but you are certainly not.’
2. A three-month Article 50 extension could still be worth it
Speaking about the prospect of MPs voting to delay Brexit by three months if May’s deal is voted down in two weeks’ time, Rees-Mogg said it was something he could endure so long as it led to a better Brexit deal: ‘If three months is what it takes to get a good deal out of Brexit.’ However, the Tory MP argued that any more than that could lead to a rise in right wing extremism: ‘If we try to stay and we stay beyond the European elections, there will only be one winner from that, and that would be Tommy Robinson.’ Rees-Mogg said that he expected the UK to be out of the EU ‘mid-way through the cricket season’.
3. Mogg’s swipe at Michael Gove over his Brexit vision
After Michael Gove said tariffs would be put in place to protect UK farmers after Brexit, Mogg appeared to take aim at the Environment Secretary’s position – calling for free trade to take priority. He said the Tories ought to be the party of free trade going forward even if ‘Michael Gove may be arguing for the reintroduction of the Corn Laws’: ‘We should be the free trade party, we should be on the side of consumers, we should be on the side of cheaper prices’.
4. Bercow is the main reason we won’t be leaving without a deal 29 March
Following the developments today on the possibility of extending Article 50 to avoid no deal, Rees-Mogg said he thought it was John Bercow who had proved pivotal to this outcome. The Conservative backbencher said that the Commons Speaker’s decisions on amendments and their scope had gone ‘further’ than he would have advised and had led to the position MPs now find themselves in: ‘I think he’s gone a little further than I’d have advised. I think the clerks take that view as well. I think that is what has got us to the position we’re in and if hadn’t been for that we could be leaving without a deal on 29 March.’
5. The Mogg household is 100 per cent Brexiteer
Speaking about his family, Rees-Mogg said that every one of his children was for Brexit – including his youngest: ‘Well I’m glad to say that all six of my children, including the one who wasn’t born at the time of the election, are fully in favour of Brexit.’
6. The Moggster has never done the dishes
Asked whether it was true that he had never washed up, Rees-Mogg replied: ‘Well yes, I have a washing machine.’ Presumably he meant dishwasher…
7. It’s time to build on the greenbelt
Rees-Mogg implied that he was in favour of housing developments on the green belt. Discussing the housing shortage, he said: ‘A lot of us who have nice views are going to have to accept that houses need to be built so our children and grandchildren can live in them.’