Text of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s letter urging MPs to oppose the draft Withdrawal Agreement

Text of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s letter urging MPs to oppose the draft Withdrawal Agreement

This evening, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Chairman of the European Research Group of MPs, has written to his parliamentary colleagues urging them to join him in voting down the draft Withdrawal Agreement as endorsed by the Cabinet after its 5-hour meeting.

The text of his letter is as follows: ———————————————–

Dear Colleagues,

Like you I supported the Prime Minister in her early approach to the Brexit negotiations. I agreed with her Lancaster House speech that this should be built around the ability of the UK to take back control of our laws, borders and money while safeguarding our precious Union.

Unfortunately the proposals for a UK/EU agreement released today do not match up to those early expectations. For four key reasons.

1. The proposed agreement will see the UK hand over £39 billion to the EU for little or nothing in return. The prospect of an agreed free trade agreement is as far away today as it always has been. The 15 page political declaration is neither binding nor clear in its intentions. If it aims to put in place the Chequers proposal it is neither workable nor respectful of the referendum result. In the absence of a trade agreement we should spend our money on our own priorities, for instance £39 billion could pay for 26,000 nurses for 40 years.

2. The proposed agreement would treat Northern Ireland differently than the rest of the UK. This is unacceptable to Unionists particularly in Northern Ireland, and Scotland where the SNP will seek to demand similar internal UK borders to weaken the Union.

3. This agreement will lock us into an EU customs union and EU laws. This will prevent us pursuing a UK trade policy based around our priorities and economy. Without the ability to regulate our own economy and form our own trade agreements we will lose out on the opportunities that Brexit affords us.

4. Agreeing to be subject to the rules of an EU Customs Union, in contravention of the 2017 Conservative manifesto, without any votes or influence is profoundly undemocratic. This is compounded by the lack of any ability for the UK to unilaterally escape, making the UK a permanent rule taker.

For these reasons I can not support the proposed agreement in Parliament and would hope that Conservative MPs would do likewise.

Yours ———————————————————————-

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP