Jacob Rees-Mogg says Boris Johnson should be next PM and says he would negotiate better Brexit deal than Theresa May’s Chequers ‘muddle’
The influential backbencher said the former Foreign Secretary is “absolutely first class” – but he added “there is no vacancy” in Number 10 for him to fill.
Mr Rees-Mogg also blasted calls for a second referendum in a phone-in on LBC, calling it “a singularly silly idea”.
He was asked by a listener to respond to a poll by the radio station suggesting Brits would prefer Mr Johnson to Mrs May to deliver a so-called “real Brexit”.
The MP for North East Somerset said: “Well, two years ago in the Conservative Party leadership campaign, I supported Boris Johnson because I thought it would deliver Brexit extraordinarily well.
“I haven't seen anything that would cause me to change my mind on that.”
He added: “I think that had he become Prime Minister we would have negotiated from a greater position of strength, and would be heading towards a clearer and cleaner Brexit rather than the muddle of Chequers.
“So I have the highest regard for Boris Johnson, but there is no vacancy.”
He wouldn’t be pushed for an answer if there was, eventually adding: “Look, I think Boris is absolutely first class, but there is no vacancy.”
But he agreed with Mr Johnson’s column this week claiming the PM was not even trying to get a proper Brexit, saying: “Yeah, I couldn’t put it better myself.”
However he said Mrs May has “a future” in Downing Street, adding: “Look, I disagree with her on a policy, a major area of policy.
“But that doesn't mean I don't think she doesn't have great strengths as a leader.”
He went on to say: “I think that Chequers need to be got rid of, ‘chucked’, in the Vogue phrase, because nobody wants it, and it doesn't work from the British point of view.”
Mr Rees-Mogg rejected the idea he was afraid of a “People’s Vote” on the final deal, saying: "We've already had three votes on this.
“We had a vote in 2015, the General Election, as to whether or not there should be a referendum.
“We then had the referendum itself. And we then had a General Election where over 80 per cent of people voted for parties committed to leaving.
"The only people calling for a second referendum are people who don't like the result and want it changed and don't recognise the democratic will of the British people."
He added: "I think that's undemocratic and I think it's simply not how the British people would expect to behave."
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