Jacob Rees-Mogg challenged over no-deal Brexit mortality rate

Jacob Rees-Mogg has accused a doctor of "fear-mongering" after he challenged the Commons Leader to say how many people he would accept could die as a result of a no-deal Brexit.

Dr David Nicol, a consultant urologist involved in the Operation Yellowhammer report into the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the NHS, called in to LBC's Ring Rees-Mogg show to ask what "mortality rate" he would accept if the UK crashed out of the EU without a deal.

Dr Nicol asked: "Having been involved in writing the plans for mitigation and having whistle-blown because I felt they were unsafe, what level of mortality rate are you willing to accept in the light of a no-deal Brexit?"

Mr Rees-Mogg replied: "I don't think there's any reason to suppose that a no-deal Brexit should lead to a mortality rate.

"I think this is the worst excess of Project Fear and I'm surprised that a doctor in your position would be fear-mongering in this way on public radio."

Dr Nicol told the prominent Brexiteer: "Can I remind you I wrote the plans of mitigation?"

But Mr Rees-Mogg replied: "Well you didn't write very good plans if you hadn't worked out how to mitigate, had you?

"It's fortunate they are being written by other people now who are serious about mitigating, rather than Remoaners."

Dr Nicol said people could die because of potential problems with access to drugs and radioactive isotopes in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Rees-Mogg said there were "reserve plans to fly drugs in if necessary".

He said: "This is a major focus of Government policy. I think it's deeply irresponsible, Dr Nicol, of you to call in and try to spread fear across the country.

"I think it's typical of Remainer campaigners and you should be quite ashamed, I'm afraid."

Earlier in the show, Mr Rees-Mogg said the idea floated by Boris Johnson's opponents of ousting him as Prime Minister and installing a government of national unity led by Ken Clarke would "blow a raspberry" at Leave voters.

"It wouldn't be a government of unity, it would be a government of complete disunity, and there to blow a raspberry at 17.4 million people – and I'm not a raspberry blower."

Asked if CCHQ was planning for an early general election, he said: "I think any wise party always prepares for an election. Certainly in my own association, once we have had an election I begin muttering about: 'When are we getting prepared for the next one?'

"That's just a routine of party politics."

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