Amid fury at Boris Johnson‘s decision to prorogue parliament, the Commons leaders insisted the decision was “constitutional and proper” – and turned his fire on John Bercow, the Speaker, who has expressed outrage at the move.
In a sign of the vicious Commons battles ahead, Mr Rees-Mogg said “the most constitutionally improper thing that happened yesterday” was the Speaker’s intervention.
The Brexiteer’s comments came as Labour and opposition parties vowed to push on with efforts to block a no-deal Brexit using legislation, despite the prime minister’s decision to suspend parliament for more than a month before the 31 October deadline.
The move triggered a wave of outrage, with thousands of protesters descending on Whitehall on Wednesday night to demand the prime minister “stops the coup”.
More than a million people have also signed a petition calling for the decision to be overturned.
Mr Rees-Mogg told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The people who are banging on about no deal and the candyfloss of outrage that we have had over the past 24 hours – which is almost entirely confected – is from people who never wanted to leave the European Union.
“This is the greatest period of anger, of confected anger, because after 31 October we will have left and this is the last time they have available to try and thwart the 17.4m people who voted to leave.”
He said senior Tories such as Philip Hammond, the former chancellor, “never wanted to leave” the EU and claimed Mr Bercow had breached the Speaker’s traditional neutrality.
Mr Rees-Mogg added: “The Speaker, by convention and longstanding tradition, has no tongue with which to speak and no eyes with which to see, other than directed by the House.
“What he said yesterday was not directed by the House, so it must have been said in a personal capacity and not as Mr Speaker.”
His appearance was mocked by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who said: “Let me thank Boris Johnson or Cummings or whoever decided to put up Jacob Rees Mogg for the BBC’s Today programme.
“He displayed their arrogant, “born to rule”, contempt for our parliament[ary] democracy, for many of his colleagues and for our people that marks out the Johnson regime.”
Labour’s Barry Gardiner accused the government of lying over its motivations for suspending parliament, arguing the prime minister would have asked for a shorter prorogation if he wanted to get on with his domestic agenda.
The shadow international trade secretary acknowledged it would be “extremely difficult” to prevent a no-deal Brexit if parliament is suspended in the coming weeks.
He added: “That’s why the government is disingenuous to say this is not about trying to stop us doing that.
“We will be seeking measures on Monday to try and have what is known as a Standing Order section 24 debate. We will seek to try and put through the appropriate legislation in this constrained timetable that the government has now put before us.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is expected to resign on Thursday, in part due to opposition to Mr Johnson’s Brexit strategy, although sources say she will also cite personal reasons for her decision.