It was revealed on Thursday evening that European Council President Donald Tusk could offer the UK a 12-month “flexible” extension to its Brexit date, according to a senior EU source. His plan, which would need to be agreed by EU leaders at a summit next week, would allow the UK to leave sooner if Parliament ratifies a deal. But leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has said Britain should use all of its remaining powers as an EU member to “make life difficult” for the “insincere” EU. Mr Rees-Mogg said he fears the discussions between Remainers Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn will ultimately lead to Britain “using the extension as a back door way of keeping us in”.
Hosting his LBC show, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “We do still have some Remain vetoes but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t ceded very large swathes of power to the European Union.
“If you take the budget, we can veto the Multiannual Financial Framework but we can’t veto the annual budget.
“Fortunately, the Multiannual Financial Framework, which lasts for seven years, will be up for discussion in 2020 so if we are still in, in 2020, we would be able to veto it – causing maximum inconvenience to the European Union.”
Mr Rees-Mogg also ridiculed French President Emmanuel Macron’s calls for further integration of the EU.
He said: “Equally, Monsieur Macron has come up with a whole slew of new plans to have a more integrated European Union. He wants to tie the whole thing more tightly together as a follow-up, essentially, to the euro.
“But that would require treaty change and we would be able to obstruct that. And a European Union army would also require treaty change.”
The Tory MP for North East Somerset said Britain can find ways of being an inconvenience for the EU during the extension but warned the EU will still be able to control Britain.
Mr Rees-Mogg said: “The EU sets so many of our laws beyond this where there will be nothing we can do at all.
“We will find the regulatory drift that comes in and affects how we are governed carries on.
“That VAT is still under the auspices, good by good, as they are applied in this country we can’t exempt domestic fuel, for example, from VAT.
“Our trade negotiations all handled by the European Union – agriculture and fisheries – all of this is outside our control if we Remain in the European Union.
“So, what I am suggesting is we use those remaining vestigial powers to make life difficult for them because they haven’t treated us with the sincere cooperation that they now expect from us.”
Ahead of the potential proposal from Donald Tusk, Prime Minister Theresa May sent a letter to the Council President requesting a further extension to June 30 with the flexibility to leave the bloc any time before that date if the House comes to an agreement.
She also pledged to hold European Parliament elections but said if Britain could ratify the Brexit deal by May 23, the country could quit the EU early.
But Elysee officials has suggested French President Emmanuel Macron will turn down an approach from Mrs May to extend the EU’s Article 50 exit clause again during a crunch summit next week.
France has warned that any suggestion that the next delay was already agreed between the UK and EU is a “clumsy trial balloon”.
Mr Macron’s aide said it is “premature to talk of an extension while the EU27 have laid out a clear pre-condition: the necessity of a credible alternative plan to justify that request”.
The Elysee said the “different options will be discussed on April 10 and nothing is decided” at this moment in time.