Back Boris over Brexit, Jacob Rees-Mogg tells eurosceptic Tory MPs

David Harding
Contributor
Jacob Rees-Mogg has told wavering Tory MPs to back Boris Johnson's Brexit (Matt Dunham/Pool via REUTERS)

Jacob Rees-Mogg has urged Brexiteer MPs to “enthusiastically support” the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.

His clarion call comes as Boris Johnson desperately tries to win over MPs to back his deal, ahead of tomorrow’s potentially historic vote in the House of Commons.

In eleventh-hour Westminster arm-twisting, Mr Johnson’s government was frantically searching for enough votes to get a majority for his deal in the House of Commons.

The vote, which takes place on Saturday, is predicted to be on a knife edge, despite the PM insisting he is “very confident” of getting the backing Parliament.

Crucially, he has already lost the support of the DUP who have claimed that the deal offered “is not Brexit”.

Mr Johnson has re-ignited his charm offensive towards hardliners on his own benches, meeting members of the European Research Group (ERG) on Friday.

Most are predicted to back him, but others such as Mark Francois said he was still undecided ahead of a meeting in Number 10 on Friday.

However, the PM was boosted by the news that former Tories he sacked following their rebellion over a no-deal Brexit are considering voting for the proposals currently on the table.

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said no to the deal (REUTERS)

Sir Nicholas Soames MP told Newsnight he would vote in favour of the deal and that his other 20 colleagues who had the whip removed would “by and large vote for it”.

Attention has also turned to the Labour Party, with focus on what MPs in Leave voting seats will opt to do.

The Daily Telegraph reported that between 10 and 15 Labour MPs are prepared to back the deal to avoid a no-deal scenario.

Ronnie Campbell, MP for Blyth Valley in Northumberland, has confirmed he will back the divorce terms and Ruth Smeeth MP, who represents Stoke-on-Trent North & Kidsgrove, a constituency that voted by more than 70% to Leave, said it was her “intention” to vote for a deal as long as it did not erode rights in Britain.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon even suggested it would suit Labour for enough rebels to cross the threshold and push Mr Johnson’s deal over the line.

“Hope I’m wrong but I have a real suspicion that Labour would be quite happy to see this deal go through. They will officially oppose but give nod to ‘rebels’ to ensure numbers there to pass,” she tweeted.

But Labour’s John McDonnell said there would be “consequences” for MPs in his party who voted for Mr Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement, but would not say whether that included having the whip removed.

A total of 635 votes will be in play when the deal is debated, which means the Government will need at least 320 votes to be certain of a majority.

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