Rees-Mogg accuses Dublin and EU of risking 'no-deal Brexit'
Prominent British Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has accused Ireland and the EU of risking a "no deal" Brexit with their "absurd" suggestion that Northern Ireland should be in a common regulatory area with Brussels to avoid a hard border.
The Conservative MP blamed "irresponsible, vote-chasing immaturity" from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and "clear disregard" for the Good Friday Agreement from EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier for the row over the Irish border. He said it was clear that a solution cannot be found to maintain a soft Irish border until Britain and the EU have finalised their future trading relationship.
UK prime minister Theresa May has already rejected the EU's demand, arguing it would threaten the constitutional and territorial integrity of the UK by keeping Northern Ireland in a de facto customs area with Brussels, which the rest of the country would be outside.
She has instead called for either a customs partnership, under which the UK "mirrors" EU requirements on goods from around the world, or a streamlined customs arrangement, using technology and "trusted trader" schemes to do away with the need for customs checks. Writing in the Belfast News Letter, Mr Rees-Mogg praised Mrs May for rejecting Brussels' demands "firmly and unalterably".
He said: "The thing she said no to was the egregious act of aggression by the European Commission, under its lead Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, that a friendly European state should be dismembered at its behest.
"This will not happen. Our union has endured rather more unpleasant threats than a policy paper out of Brussels."