Just consider what Jacob Rees Mogg Conservative MP and leader of the allegedly hard-line Brexiteer “ERG” group in the Commons has been saying about the financial settlement terms of Brexit in recent years
In 2017 he stated that…
“The difficulty is not that we don’t have a position, the difficulty is that the EU has failed to prove that we owe them any money at all. And under EU and international law, if we leave without a deal we owe them nothing, and that means that the EU needs a deal more than we do.”
This was a statement of fact reinforced by the House of Lords which stated in this in-depth report on the issue that whilst there are “competing interpretations” on what the UK should pay it reaches the conclusion that, because the European treaties do not say anything on the matter, there would be no enforceable obligation to make the UK pay any financial contribution at all.
Zero. Nada. Nilch.
Earlier this year he reiterated the same point that we have no obligation to pay the EU anything. The MP for North East Somerset said:
“The liability we are accepting is voluntary, it is subject to an agreement. But with no agreement, there is no liability. The Lords European Committee report from June of last year said that the UK, if it leaves without a deal, has no UK, EU or international obligation to pay any money”
We know that UK Prime Minister Theresa May has scandalously offered the EU a sum of £39billion to Brexit but up until this point Rees Mogg has taken the view that we have no obligation pay the EU a penny. There is no current deal on offer from the EU that is in any way resonant with what Rees Mogg and others have suggested we need.
Given this robust attitude, it is all the more surprising to now read him suggest that we should hand over £20 billion to the EU as a good will offering so “we can be friends”.
“We should offer Brussels £20 billion to make our departure as amicable as possible. Under it, we would leave on schedule on March 29”
Why is he suggesting we hand over £20billion to the EU when he has previously said that Zero would be the correct amount? Why has he pirouetted to this new point of financial appeasement? Has the man of conservative steel become a straw man? Are there any real Brexiteers in the Conservative party? Have we all been conned?