The prominent Brexiteer and chair of the influential ERG was praised by radio caller Martin for making Prime Minister Theresa May’s negotiating position stronger by stopping her from scrapping a no deal Brexit. Calling into the Tory MP’s LBC radio show, Martin said: “I hope one day you are the leader on this country because we need someone like you as Prime Minister.”
He added: “I think they would do well as a party on their own.
“You have strengthened the Prime Minister’s hand now when she goes to Brussels because Brussels have known for the last two years that they are dealing with a prime minister who, from the start, voted Remain and wants half-in, half-out.
“She wants to still be tied to the EU and the ERG, I think, they are brilliant because they have made her hands stronger in Brussels and they now that now the UK are not going to mess about.
“If no deal is still on the table then they are not going to let us go with no deal.
“They want that £39billion and I wouldn’t pay it.
“But they want that £39billion and they are going to come up with a last minute deal that is going to please us in the end.”
In response, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “I think that the EU is desperate for our money.
“If you look at economic growth figures at the moment, Germany, France, Italy, are all either in or heading into a recession.
“The UK is growing faster than all of them and our economic performance gets blamed on Brexit but in spite of Brexit we are still doing better than all of them. And I think they want a deal more than we do.”
The prominent Tory Brexiteer insisted the ERG is simply attempting to “stick up” for the Conservative Party manifesto.
He added: “We said we would leave the European Union, leave the customs union, and leave the single market.”
The comments come as Prime Minister Theresa May suffered yet another defeat in the Commons on Thursday.
MPs voted against the latest Government’s Brexit motion with Brexiteers fearing it would take the threat of leaving the EU without a deal off the negotiating table.
Tory MPs from both the Leave and Remain side have also warned Mrs May she risks facing the fall of her Government if she fails in securing a Brexit deal without a backstop.
Former Brexit minister Steve Baker told Mrs May her Government will “collapse” if the draft withdrawal agreement is voted on in the Commons: “Where this deal to pass through Parliament with this backstop, the Government would subsequently collapse because the DUP will not be able to maintain confidence and supply if this deal goes through.”
Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve warned Mrs May she faces the resignation of “a dozen ministers” if she fails to take a no deal Brexit off the table.
Mr Grieve suggested around a dozen junior ministers could soon be resigning if the option of crashing out of the European Union is not rejected by the Government.