Rees-Mogg brushes off ‘Resign’ heckle on despatch box debut
Jacob Rees-Mogg faced a shout of “Resign” as he made his despatch box debut in the Commons – before insisting MPs must deliver on Brexit.
The heckle emerged from the opposition bench as the new Commons Leader rose to his feet to announce the business for the three-day week when MPs return after the summer recess.
Mr Rees-Mogg replied: “It’s a bit early.”
He later played down temporarily suspending Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit but highlighted legislation which showed that MPs had vowed to deliver the UK’s exit from the EU on October 31.
Mr Rees-Mogg told the House: “Parliament debated, Parliament decided, parliamentary democracy requires we deliver.”
The House of Commons returns after recess on September 3 but will consider smaller legislation, such as the Census (Return Particulars and Removal of Penalties) Bill and Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, which is already make its way through the parliamentary process.
Debates on the future UK Shared Prosperity Fund and house building will be held on September 5.
Mr Rees-Mogg did not confirm the dates for any recess in mid-September and early October for the party conferences, but said he does “imagine it will be convenient for members to be able to attend their own party conferences”.
He added: “I think there may be something forthcoming in due course.”
For Labour, shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz asked whether Dominic Cummings, one of the new Prime Minister’s top advisers, will be given a parliamentary pass after MPs found him to be in contempt of Parliament.
The former Vote Leave chief has been handed a top job in Boris Johnson’s operation at Number 10.
In March, Mr Cummings was found to be in contempt of Parliament by the Committee of Privileges after he refused to give evidence to the Commons Culture Select Committee during its fake news inquiry.
Ms Vaz said: “Will he get a pass? Perhaps we need counsels’ advice on this.”
Mr Rees-Mogg did not respond on Mr Cummings but said of prorogation: “(Ms Vaz) asks for a new session and said when will this session end, and then asks me to promise we wouldn’t prorogue.
“Well, we can’t have both because we can’t get a new session without proroguing though the Prime Minister has said he views prorogation as an archaic mechanism and does not wish to see archaic mechanisms used.”
To laughter, he added: “As I’m now bound by collective responsibility that is also my view.”
SNP Commons leader Pete Wishart described Mr Rees-Mogg as “curious” before adding: “It’s hot outside.
“But as they continue to open the doors of hell in their buffoon’s Brexit, it’s going to get a lot hotter yet.”
Conservative former minister Justine Greening asked for a debate on the importance of parliamentary democracy and governments respecting the will of parliamentary votes, including against a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Rees-Mogg replied: “This Parliament voted for the Withdrawal Act and said we would leave.
“It’s predecessor Parliament, which has an enormous commonality with this House, voted by an overwhelming majority for the Article 50 that also said we would leave.
“These two Acts combined provided we would leave under UK law on October 31 2019.
“Parliament debated, Parliament decided, parliamentary democracy requires we deliver.”