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Jacob Rees-Mogg is widely credited with first saying that we may become a “vassal state” to the EU post-Brexit.  He did so in the context of transition – putting the point to David Davis in January during a meeting of the Brexit Select Committee.

However, this version of events is incorrect.

The first Westminster politician to make the claim was a Labour one – Barry Gardiner, the party’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade.  He did so with reference to post-Brexit membership of the EEA.  Here’s what he wrote in the Guardian last July

“The UK would technically not be a member of the EU, but we would in effect become a vassal state: obliged to pay into the union’s budget while having even less sovereignty than we do now – no longer able to appoint commissioners, sit on the EU council to have a say in how we determine our regulations and laws, or appoint British judges to the ECJ to adjudicate disputes. The 52% would almost certainly consider this a con.”

As we put it back then, challenging Gardiner to eat an American chlorine-washed chicken, “the so-called hardest of so-called hard Brexiteers on the Conservative benches could not put it more vividly”.

135 comments for: Meet the man who warned that we may become a vassal state to the EU

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