Amber Rudd: Jacob Rees-Mogg is 'wrong' over Brexit civil service comments

Posted On: 
4th February 2018

Amber Rudd has launched into Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg, saying he is "wrong" to criticise civil servants over their approach to Brexit. 

Amber Rudd appearing on the Andrew Marr Show this morning Amber Rudd appearing on the Andrew Marr Show this morning
Credit: 
BBC One/Andrew Marr Show

The Home Secretary, who was a prominent Remain campaigner, warned eurosceptic Tory backbenchers that the Cabinet is "more united than they think" on the Brexit deal.

She spoke out after Mr Rees-Mogg, who chairs the European Reform Group of Tory MPs, accused the Treasury of "fiddling the figures" in a leaked report last week which set out the economic consequences of different forms of Brexit.

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"I'm very surprised at Jacob because he is famously courteous, famously thoughtful, articulate, so I'm very surprised that he's used that language," she told the Andrew Marr Show.

"I think that they are wrong, he is wrong here and this document he is particularly referring to is not a Treasury document anyway, it's prepared across different departments and it's a tool, it's a tool for informing those of us who are on the EU sub-committee about the choices that are going to be made.

"It's not about projecting one way or another, so I think they're wrong." 

She also issued a thinly veiled swipe at Brexit minister Steve Baker, who earlier this week said government forecasts were "always wrong".

"No, I think that Steve Baker had an interesting week this week where he also, over the whole debate about what was said when, was gracious enough to issue an apology. 

"We all use forecasts, it doesn't mean we put all the weight that people might expect on them. We have to approach them with a certain amount of cynicism but they help inform the debate and the decisions we make." 

'SURPRISE FOR THE BREXITEERS'

Ms Rudd also attacked Tory Brexiteers for trying to foment division in the parliamentary party, insisting she and her colleagues were pulling in the same direction.

"I have a surprise for the Brexiteers, which is the committee that meets in order to help make these decisions...is more united than they think," she said.

"We meet in the committee, we meet privately for discussions, I think we will arrive at something which suits us all. There will be choices to be made within that but we all want the same thing, which is to arrive at a deal that works for the UK, that looks ahead - it's not just about protecting trade behind us - it's about looking ahead to what kind of country we want to be afterwards.

"We all have those interests at heart and I think can work closely together to deliver it."