Rees-Mogg promotes ‘sensible’ deal to leave EU ahead of DUP dinner
A leading Brexiteer has said the Malthouse Compromise is the United Kingdom’s best route to leave the European Union with a “sensible” deal.
Jacob Rees-Mogg made the assessment as he arrived at the Tullyglass Hotel in Ballymena, Co Antrim, to attend a Democratic Unionist Party dinner.
He was welcomed to the venue by North Antrim MP Ian Paisley.
Political donor Arron Banks was also among the guests at the event.
The Conservative Party enjoys a confidence and supply deal with the Democratic Unionists which helps to prop up Theresa May’s minority government.
Mr Rees-Mogg said he was at the dinner to support the Conservatives’ coalition partners.
He said he has worked very closely with the DUP during the Brexit debate.
“The DUP has very similar views on many issues relating to Brexit,” he said.
In terms of speaking at the event, Mr Rees-Mogg said those gathered have a “great deal to talk about in terms of Brexit”.
He also emphasised that he wants the UK to secure a deal with the EU before Brexit.
He described the Malthouse Compromise, a proposal to extend the transition period for a year and protect EU citizens’ rights, instead of using the backstop, as the way to do that.
Mr Rees-Mogg said it was the best way to satisfy both Leavers and Remainers.
“I think the Malthouse Compromise has received a good deal of interest and widespread support, it’s supported by the DUP, it is supported by many Conservatives from both the Leave and Remain points of view, and it seems to be something the Government is willing to run with,” he said.
“I think there is a possibility of leaving with a sensible deal which is the preferred option for most people.
“It is indeed my preferred option.”
Arriving separately, Mr Banks told the Press Association that the DUP MPs had been very supportive of the campaign he was involved in for the UK to leave the EU, and said that he wanted to reciprocate that.
“I think the DUP have been fundamental, if Brexit gets delivered, it will be because of the DUP,” he said.
“They have got a lot of power over Theresa May and they have used that, so good on them.”
Mr Rees-Mogg’s attendance at the event was questioned by the Northern Ireland Conservatives.
NI Conservatives chairman Alan Dunlop described it as an “odd alliance”.
“Backbench MPs are free to speak to anyone they wish to, there is a clear convention within the Conservative Party however, not to speak in support of rival political parties,” he told the Press Association.
“Jacob Rees-Mogg is a highly respected member of the party with impeccable knowledge of UK constitutional politics and conventions and therefore will be fully aware of this.
“Sadly on occasions, often in an honest defence of their principal political views, politicians find themselves making odd alliances and standing elements of their own political logic on its head.
“They make themselves look foolish when they do so.”
Mr Rees Mogg is not the first Conservative MP to headline a DUP event, and is following in the footsteps of several high-profile representatives.
Last November, former foreign secretary Boris Johnston addressed the DUP’s conference.