Brexit: Jacob Rees-Mogg says the EU is punishing the UK
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In an exclusive interview with GB News, the Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency also suggested he was “suspicious” about the work from home arrangements of Civil servants. Mr Rees-Mogg said: “I’m a little suspicious that the days most people want to work from home turn out to be Mondays and Fridays. I think that tells you something or hints at something at the very least. Civil servants have a contract. They should be expected, it’s not unreasonable, that they should stick to that contract.”
His comments come as amid Government plans to axe 91,000 posts.
Speaking to GB News about the ongoing talks with the EU, Mr Rees Mogg said: “I think it [the EU] wants to make the UK feel bad about having left the European Union and that underpins its whole policy and it doesn’t really mind about the consequences of that.
“And we just have to get on with life and recognise that we have left. We have to make our own way. We are an independent country and what the EU wants and thinks is secondary.
“The Paymaster General Michael Ellis has made a speech in Brussels today making it very clear that we are, if not at the end of the road, very close to it.
“To cancel the TCA [EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement], the European Union would need unanimity and it seems to me that’s a pretty high bar to get.
“And you have to say to the European Union, does it really want to punish its consumers at a time of rising inflation? And inflation in a lot of the EU countries is higher than it is in the UK.”
“Do they really want to make prices even higher for their consumers and their voters? I think that’s an interesting and important question.”
It comes as the Northern Ireland Protocol has become a “real problem” and must be “fixed” to ensure the country can agree a new powersharing administration, the Prime Minister has said.
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The UK and the European Union have come to fresh blows over the Brexit treaty after reports emerged that the Foreign Secretary is drawing up emergency legislation to suspend elements of the protocol.
Boris Johnson, who negotiated the protocol when taking Britain out of the EU, would not be drawn on whether the wording of the divorce pact needed to be changed when questioned on Thursday.
He argued that without changes to the treaty, which is designed to prevent a hard border in Ireland, a new executive in Northern Ireland could not be formed as per the rules set out in the 1998 peace agreement.
Sinn Fein, which supports the protocol, made history during last week’s Stormont elections when it became the largest party in the Assembly for the first time.
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But the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has ruled out entering into a new powersharing administration without significant changes to the protocol which governs post-Brexit trading arrangements.
The impasse has led to concerns in Westminster that the protocol could spark sectarian violence in a region still scarred by the Troubles.
The Prime Minister told broadcasters that the “institutions set up under the Good Friday Agreement aren’t functioning” and that political governance in Northern Ireland has “collapsed”.
Speaking in Stoke-on-Trent, he said: “The people of Northern Ireland need leadership, they need a regional, a provincial government… they haven’t got that.
“That’s a real, real problem.”
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