October 1, 2018 / 6:23 PM / 2 months ago

Conservatives should back May, says lawmaker Rees-Mogg

Pro-Brexit Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg delivers a speech at a Brexit rally during the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, September 30, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Changing Conservative leader could cause more problems than it solves and the party should back Prime Minister Theresa May, senior Eurosceptic lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg said on Monday.

The Conservatives, meeting for their annual conference, are deeply divided over Brexit and have just six months before a deadline to reach an agreement with the European Union expires.

Rees-Mogg, considered a possible successor to May, said the Conservatives’ lack of a parliamentary majority meant it would be difficult for an alternative leader to push through an ambitious Brexit deal.

“The (Conservative) party often thinks the easy solution is to change the leader and actually changing leader usually causes more problems than it solves and it is therefore in my mind sensible and prudent to back the prime minister,” he told an event on the sidelines of the conference.

“There is a very small (parliamentary) majority for the Conservatives with the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) and it would be very hard for anybody to push through a really ambitious Brexit policy at this stage. What we need is to move to super-Canada and that will ultimately command a majority,” Rees-Mogg told an event on the sidelines of the conference.

“Super-Canada” is a proposal by some Brexiteers for a more ambitious free trade agreement than the one between Canada and the EU reached in 2016. That agreement, which took seven years to negotiate, removed almost all tariffs between the two trading blocs.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Writing by Elisabeth O'Leary; Editing by Andrew Roche

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