Jacob Rees-Mogg Defends Ann Widdecombe Over EU Slavery Comparison

8 July 2019, 11:04

Jacob Rees-Mogg has defended Ann Widdecombe's comparison of membership of the EU with slavery.

In her maiden speech to the European Parliament, the Brexit Party MEP said: "There is a pattern consistent throughout history of oppressed people turning on their oppressors, slaves against their owners, the peasantry against the feudal barons, colonies against empires, and that is why Britain is leaving."

Critics rounded her claim that the UK is a slave of the EU, but leading Brexiter Mr Rees-Mogg leapt to her defence.

Asked if he felt the reference was inappropriate, he said: "No I don't. I think that Ann Widdecombe is entitled to use colourful language to get her message across.

"I think politics requires that. If we just get boring and bland speeches, no one will ever hear the arguments.

"I prefer to use the phrase vassal state for the way that our withdrawal agreement was going to leave us, but I think these comparisons are ones that are not unreasonable or outrageous to make."

Jacob Rees-Mogg defended Ann Widdecombe over her slavery remarks
Jacob Rees-Mogg defended Ann Widdecombe over her slavery remarks. Picture: PA / LBC

When pushed again on whether he thinks the UK is a slave of the EU, he responded: "There's little difference between a vassal and a slave.

"So I may have used a slightly different word but it's not a million miles away from it.

"I think our relationship with the EU is as Mr Verhofstadt said, one of a colony."