Jeremy Corbyn to thank for enabling Brexit, claims Rees-Mogg

Jeremy Corbyn to thank for enabling Brexit, claims Rees-Mogg
Commons leader says pro-Remain Tories would never have accepted Mr Corbyn as an interim PM

Jacob Rees-Mogg has hailed Jeremy Corbyn for helping to save Brexit, claiming that the former Labour leader’s lack of appeal to pro-Remain Tories prevented an interim prime minister from being installed.

The Conservative minister said that the former Labour leader’s “stubbornness” prevented Brexit from being halted.

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on Monday, Commons Leader Mr Rees-Mogg said: “It’s amazing how close it came to us not getting Brexit, that the British establishment wanted to stop it and were trying very hard.

“And you know who we should thank, oddly? Let’s see if the Conservative audience can cope with this: we should thank Jeremy Corbyn.

“I’ll tell you why. Because our side who hated Brexit would have accepted any other Labour leader as interim prime minister to stop Brexit and have a second referendum.”

Mr Rees Mogg, who has campaigned for a “hard Brexit”, went on to claim that “any other Labour leader” would have accepted an interim Tory prime minister in order to stop Britain’s departure from the EU.

He continued: “Jeremy Corbyn was unacceptable to Tories who would simply not, however much they hated Brexit, have him as leader, and there was absolutely no way he was going to make way for anybody else.

“Therefore we got to an election and won it handsomely because the people wanted what they voted for to ​be delivered.

“But without Jeremy Corbyn’s obduracy, stubbornness, we might not have got it – and I think it came very close to not happening.”

In August 2019, Mr Corbyn urged rebel Tories and opposition leaders to halt a no-deal Brexit by ousting Boris Johnson and installing him as the leader of a caretaker government until the next general election. He stressed this would be a temporary administration on a “strictly time-limited basis”.

The idea was swiftly dismissed by leaders of other parties. Jo Swinson, the then-leader of the Liberal Democrats, claimed there was “people in his own party and indeed the necessary Conservative backbenchers who would be unwilling to support him”.

During the campaign for the 2019 general election, Mr Corbyn promised to negotiate a new Brexit deal with the EU and put this to a public vote alongside the option to Remain. He defended the policy as a “sensible way forward that can bring people together”.

Elsewhere during Monday’s conference, Mr Rees-Mogg was confronted by a disability activist who accused the senior Tory of being “just another Eton millionaire” who looks down on disabled people.

Dominic Hutchins, who has cerebral palsy, took the minister to task over policies that he blames for causing the loss of his job as a youth worker and saw him undergo a “humiliating” test to prove his disability.

He accused the minister of talking “rubbish” and accused him of being “shameful”.

“I’m sorry you think that but I wish you well in your search for a job, I really do,” Mr Rees-Mogg responded.

The Independent has contacted Jeremy Corbyn’s representatives for comment.