Jacob Rees-Mogg is leading the MPs pressuring the PM to stick to her “red lines”.
The newly-elected chairman of the influential European Research Group said he will call for the post-Brexit “simplementation” period to end in 2020 – sooner than the two-year period previously suggested.
Mr Rees-Mogg, who represents more than 100 Eurosceptic back- benchers from the Tory party, said it would be “absurd” to remain in the single market and allow uncontrolled EU immigration to continue after we leave in 14 months’ time.
Voicing his support for the Prime Minister, he called for Cabinet Remainer Chancellor Philip Hammond to make amends with Mrs May and tow the line, insisting: “The Prime Minister is boss.”
Britain officially leaves the European Union on March 29, 2019, at 11pm British time – midnight European time.
“We must have control of free movement of people as soon as we leave,” said Mr Rees-Mogg.
“This idea that we can let them carry on coming for another two years is absolutely absurd.”
He also rejected the idea of remaining in the single market after we leave, as has been suggested by the EU and Europhiles like Mr Hammond, who favour a closer alignment.
French president Emmanuel Macron will tell Andrew Marr today that Britain cannot have access to the single market without abiding by its rules.
Mr Rees-Mogg said: “Staying in the single market or an approximation to it is a bad deal because it means we still suffer from EU control but have no say in it.
“The Norway version would be the worst of everything – it would be better to stay in the EU.”
The EU 27 wants the UK to keep abiding by EU law and con- tributing to the budget while the EU Commission has even called for the period to be extended.
However, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “We want to ensure the implementation period is genuinely an implementation – not a transition that means we are basically still a member of the European Union.
“Mrs May has been absolutely clear, she’s always used the word implementation. Implementation means that we have left the European Union and are implementing the consequences.
“We want control of borders, control of our laws, control of our money, and the ability to make trade deals with the rest of the world from the day we leave.”
Phillip Hammond has been called on to make amendments with Mrs May and tow the line.
1 of 25
Last month, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier called for the implementation period to end on December 31, 2020, the end of the EU’s seven-year budget cycle.
“Mr Barnier wants it ended at the end of the financial period and that’s extremely logical. I want as short an implementation period as possible,” said Mr Rees-Mogg.
“The sooner we are out of the clutches of the EU, its inefficiencies and high costs, the better it will be for the British electorate.”
Warning there was a “big political risk” to dragging Brexit out, he explained: “If there’s a shorter implementation period the sooner we can show the real advantages of having left. If the period runs until 2021, that’s only 15 months before the election.”
The straight-talking MP, whose profile has soared since the general election, said no cash should be handed to the EU until a free trade deal has been agreed.
Theresa May is believed to have offered up to £38billion to cover the UK’s obligations during the implementation period, although the Government has never confirmed the exact figure.
“It would be very unwise to keep on paying during the implementation period if the final deal hasn’t been agreed,” said Mr Rees-Mogg. “Every time we hand over a cheque, we are losing part of our negotiating capital in a very tangible sense.”
Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron view a guard of honour ahead of UK-France summit talks.
Affectionately known as the “honourable member for the 18th century,” old Etonian Mr Rees-Mogg has been touted as a future Tory leader after winning legions of fans for his no-nonsense traditionalist views.
Last month he hit out at Mrs May during Prime Minister’s Questions, insisting the Brexit “red lines” she set out in her land- mark Lancaster House speech “needed a new coat of paint”.
The comment came after the original phase one agreement with the EU suggested there should be “regulatory alignment” between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, before it was rejected by DUP leader Arlene Foster, whose MPs are propping up the Tory minority government.
However, praising Mrs May’s consistency on Brexit, Mr Rees- Mogg said: “Her position has been solid throughout, from the day she said ‘Brexit means Brexit’. “The great thing about the Prime Minister is that she sticks to what she has said – she isn’t a flip flopper.
“In the last few months, most of the running has been done by the Remainers who have been putting her under pressure to ‘pinken’ her red lines which she hasn’t done – she has stuck to them.”
But he was less impressed by “unhelpful” Cabinet members.
“The Government’s policy is absolutely clear,” he said.
“But there are some people of a nervous disposition who are very fearful about leaving the EU, don’t want us to leave, and are muddy- ing the waters.
“It’s very important that Mrs May’s friends and allies help her with the position that she’s in and back her.
“It’s important that she knows and the Government knows it’s got a great deal of support, not just from backbench MPs but from the country at large.”
He said this will allow her to “negotiate from the position of strength she has, to ensure the principles she has laid down are met and that there’s no need to soften or weaken”.
Arlene Foster rejected a regulatory alignment between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.
The ERG’s support will reassure Mrs May, who was betrayed by Remainer rebels in her party who had tried to thwart the passing of the EU Withdrawal Bill.
Accusing those pushing for another EU vote of being out of touch with the British public, Mr Rees-Mogg said calls for a second referendum simply proved the “European Union hates democracy and makes you vote until you give the right answer”.
But, he said: “We’re not some small little country that can be pushed around by the Brussels bureaucracy. The resentment of the country at another election would be very large.”
With the second phase of negotiations on trade due to start in March, Mr Rees-Mogg said Britain was in a strong position, provided it stuck to the mantra that no deal is better than a bad deal.
“The Remainers keep on telling us that the negotiations are about to go very badly and we’re about to give in on absolutely everything when we haven’t.
“We save nearly £40billion straight away on the basis of no deal – so it’s not too bad.
“In the last 18 months of the multi-annual financial framework, they’re insolvent without a deal, so it’s a big problem for the EU.
“A bespoke deal could be better, but a no deal on WTO terms is fine – it isn’t something people should lose sleep about.”
Rebuffing Remainer claims that the price of goods will go up if we leave without a deal, he added: “This is a completely bonkers view. It assumes we’ll apply tariffs to the EU when we leave.
“But that would be a voluntary act by the British Government.
“Surely we would lower tariffs for everybody rather than increase tariffs on the EU.
“And the competitiveness in the UK increases if we lower tariffs, which means cheaper food, clothing and footwear.
“Remainers put producers first. The big pandragons are their priority. Whereas I think my voters, consumers, ought to be put first.
1 of 14
“They are better off if they have greater choice and lower prices.” Warning the EU against “cutting off its nose to spite its face”, he added: “There’s a lot of electorates across the EU getting fed up with the system.
“There’s the rise of AfD in Germany and the Polish and Hungarian governments are fed up with the authoritarianism of the EU, threatening Poland with the suspension of voting rights.
“And we’ve got Italian elections which could be a big rejection of the current set up of the EU.
“The bureaucracy may want a deal that punishes Britain.
“That may be the view of the high priests in Brussels, but ultimately governments are responsive to their electorates.
“Voters won’t want to lose their trade and their profitability for the sake of the EU being cross with the UK for leaving.”