Jacob Rees-Mogg says Theresa May has his 'confidence' after winning vote of Tory MPs

The leading Brexiteer said her victory in the vote meant she now had his confidence – even though he previously called on her to resign over her Brexit deal.

And despite the prime minister being unable to win concessions from EU leaders on the agreement, Mr Rees-Mogg offered his congratulations for seeing off a rebellion helped by his own submission of a letter of no confidence.

Speaking as Mrs May addressed MPs over her latest failed trip to Brussels, the North East Somerset MP also took the opportunity to dismiss growing calls for a second referendum as a “loser’s vote”.

He added that a new referendum would make it “very hard” to deny a second Scottish independence referendum, which SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has been keen to discuss.

Keen to retain the approval of one of her most vociferous critics, Mrs May said her backbencher made a “good point” and noted that the government had “accepted” decisions made in previous referendums.

According to a Sky Data poll, there is increased support for a so-called People’s Vote among the public as well as within parliament, with more than half of Britons keen to return to the ballot box.

But it remains to be seen how long Mr Rees-Mogg will claim to have confidence in the prime minister if she continues to come home empty-handed from her meetings with EU leaders.

Her efforts to gain “assurances” over the Irish backstop are largely driven by the demands of Brexiteer MPs, who have said they will vote down her deal in its current state when it goes before parliament next month.

Mrs May said the vote on the deal would be held on the week beginning 14 January.

Mr Rees-Mogg has previously told Sky News that the prime minister had actually lost her confidence vote “very heavily” because it showed she had “lost support of the Tory backbench”.

The government’s most senior legal officer, Jonathan Jones, is aiming to secure a legally binding commitment that the backstop can be time-limited, which the PM hopes would deliver the necessary votes for her deal.

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