By Isabel Togoh
Eurosceptic MP Jacob Rees-Mogg launched a stinging attack on the integrity of the Prime Minister and her draft Brexit deal, before hinting that he would submit a letter of no confidence in her leadership.
The European Research Group chair is reportedly set to submit such a letter today, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Referring to the deal, he told the House of Commons on Thursday morning: “My right honourable friend, and she is unquestioningly honourable, said that we would leave the Customs Union. Annex two says otherwise.
“My right honourable friend said that she would retain the integrity of the United Kingdom. A whole protocol says otherwise.
“My right honourable friend said that we would be out of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Article 174 says otherwise.
“As what my right honourable friend says, and what my right honourable friend does no longer match, should I not write to my right honourable friend the member for Altrincham and Sale West?”
BREAKING Eurosceptic Tory leader Jacob Rees-Mogg to submit letter of no confidence in Theresa May as Conservative leader later today, sources confirm
— Christopher Hope (@christopherhope) November 15, 2018
Said MP is Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, a backbench body which would oversee an increasingly likely vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister.
Some 48 letters are needed to trigger the vote, which would plunge her leadership into (even more) turmoil.
May responded: “I have made absolutely clear that some difficult choices have had to be made in relation to that protocol. Those choices have been made because I believe, and I strongly and firmly believe it is important that we do ensure that there is no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“But as I have said before, and my honourable friend has heard me say before,” she said as she turned to look at a visibly frustrated Rees-Mogg, “we will be working to ensure that that protocol does not need to be put into place.”
Should I not write to my right honourable friend the member for Altrincham and Sale West?
She added: “What we are negotiating alongside that withdrawal agreement is not something that will be of a temporary nature, it will be a lasting future relationship with the European Union which will last for decades to come.
“In that future relationship, we will no longer be a member of the customs union, we will no longer be a member of the single market, an end to free movement will have been delivered, the integrity of the United Kingdom will have been maintained, the jurisdiction of the European court in the UK will end, and we will come out of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy.
“So I ask my honourable friend to consider the nature of the future relationship we will be delivering with the European Union, which does indeed deliver on the commitments that I have made.”
It has been a tough morning for May, who has seen a slew of resignations from her government – including two Cabinet ministers – all before midday.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey have both quit in protest over her withdrawal deal, which she announced yesterday.