Brexit and Beer | Jacob Rees-Mogg

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ANAND: Good evening, everyone; welcome to this latest in our Beer and Brexit series. It's a (UNCLEAR) Jacob Rees-Mogg, who's just come hot-footing it from the House of Commons where the vote’s taken place of which more anon. Jacob, I'm sorry it's not quite champagne with Boris & Co. you enjoyed last night, but I hope you enjoy yourself anyway. Jacob is of course the Conservative MP for Northeast Somerset - having failed to become the MP for Central Fife in 1997 - I wanted to ask you if you were secretly quite pleased to have lost that one, but I won’t. He was elected in 2010, so has had a front-row seat for all the political fun and games since then; and as you all know, he sits on the exiting the European (UNCLEAR) I believe you're a fan of cricket, and a Somerset fan

JACOB: I am indeed; yes, that's absolutely right.  

ANAND: So did you go watch Somerset when they had Viv Richards?  

JACOB: I did indeed; the very first match I watched at Taunton was the John Player leagues, a Sunday match. Limited overs, 40 overs, Somerset versus Kent; and when I tell you that the highest scorer for Somerset was Joel Garner, you will realise that Somerset lost.

ANAND: Well, I've reached that age where I sort of looked back with fond memories of the days when sporting events were sponsored by fag companies; as it used to be. So I want to start with what happened yesterday, because obviously it was very important; and I suppose the first thing to ask you is, were you taken aback by the size of the defeat?  

JACOB: Yes, I was. With these things you have your numbers - and you know who you've spoken to and your team's spoken to, who is likely to be on your side - but you always expect a good deal of slippage, because there is a mystique about the Whip's office; you think they will be able to get people back. So had we believed our own numbers, it was the sort of region we were getting to; but of course, we didn't we didn't think that was likely to be so such a solid turnout of Eurosceptic as there was. So I was surprised; I thought it would be significant (UNCLEAR)

ANAND: Isn't that just a bit of a chronic inability to count in Parliament? Going back to the vote of no-confidence in December - all these numbers are bandied around, and they all proved to be wrong - (UNCLEAR) whether this is my memory going, but I seem to recall a time when the Whips knew what they were doing and you (UNCLEAR) Something changed.

JACOB: Yes; something very important has changed, and that is the Fixed Term Parliament Act. Fixed Term Parliament Act makes it much easier to vote against the government on any routine vote - not like the vote this evening; the vote this evening was a vote of no conference under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliament Act. Had the government lost, it's highly likely there would have been a general election - but all other votes are not any longer votes that could create a general election. If we were operating prior to 2011 the government, may well have made yesterday the confidence vote; which would have faced people like me with a real dilemma. Do we vote for a deal that we think is terrible, or do we vote to bring the government down, lose the Whip and leave Parliament? It's quite a serious dilemma which has been taken away; and that, I think. has affected the ability to count, because people are much freer than they were prior to 2011.


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