Brexit news latest: Jacob Rees-Mogg warns Theresa May public mood has hardened against her Withdrawal Agreement deal

Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed the public mood against Theresa May’s EU divorce deal hardened over Christmas.

Mr Rees-Mogg, leader of the European Research Group, spoke ahead of Mrs May’s much-criticised Withdrawal Agreement returning to the Commons this week for debate, ahead of a planned vote next week.

Mrs May needs the support of Tory MPs to force her deal over the line, but Mr Rees-Mogg wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “Over Christmas, the view of the country, and especially Conservative members, seems to have hardened against the proposal.

“Certainly, the hope that members of the public would tell MPs to back Mrs May has proved forlorn.”
The MP for North East Somerset also spoke of the parliamentary arithmetic which could prove a stumbling block for Mrs May. Some Leavers, some Remainers and the DUP have said they intend to vote against it.

He added it would “not be in order” for the government to continue to ask the same question until the deal is passed.

He wrote: “There is a quotation often attributed to Einstein – that the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. We can only hope it does not apply to Her Majesty’s Government.”

A planned vote in December was shelved. On Monday, digital minister Margot James was slapped down by Downing Street after suggesting Article 50 might have to be extended in order to stop a no-deal Brexit if the Withdrawal Agreement is rejected by Parliament.

Meanwhile, Mr Rees-Mogg’s fellow Conservative William Hague wrote in the same paper that those suggesting a no-deal Brexit was “not the end of the world” are guilty of “miscalculating the risks and their chances of success”.

He wrote: “If we were going to leave with no deal, then the best chance of mitigating the many risks would be to do so with a clear plan of our own, backed by a parliamentary majority ready to take all the necessary measures – which include many new laws that would be urgently required covering customs and immigration checks, suspending many others and spending a lot of money on solving problems where they emerged.”

Additional reporting by Press Association.