Boris Johnson is on course to deliver a “fundamentally different” Brexit deal to ensure the UK leaves on October 31, a Cabinet minister has claimed after Finland said a new deal must be presented in 12 days.
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg expressed his confidence in the Prime Minister achieving such an outcome while stressing the need for the DUP to be consulted.
His remarks came after Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne, following talks in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron, said Britain should outline its Brexit plans to the EU by the end of September.
The rotating presidency of the Council of the EU is currently held by Finland.
Mr Rees-Mogg also maintained the Queen was “in no way misled” over the decision to suspend Parliament, recalling travelling with Her Majesty’s hairdresser from the airport in Aberdeen to Balmoral before seeking approval to prorogue Parliament for five weeks until October 14.
Speaking at a Telegraph event, Mr Rees-Mogg said of Mr Johnson’s Brexit efforts: “I’m very, very confident the Prime Minister will deliver a deal that is fundamentally different if he can deliver before October 31.”
Mr Rees-Mogg also said the Government has to “listen very carefully to what the DUP say”.
Earlier, Mr Rees-Mogg labelled Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage a “very distinguished political figure and an important contributor” to what has happened in the UK.
He added Mr Farage is a “significant British statesman” but would not be drawn on whether he should receive a knighthood or a peerage.
In an appeal to Brexit Party backers to support the Conservatives at the next general election, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “If you vote for the Brexit Party at the next general election, it’s a vote effectively for Jeremy Corbyn.
“Think very hard, is that what you want?
“Or do you want a Prime Minister who has completely committed to delivering Brexit and with a majority would be able to do great things for this country?”
Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan also signalled her intention to stay in her post even if a no-deal Brexit looks the most likely outcome by the end of next month.
Ms Morgan, asked if she was prepared to stay in the Cabinet if it is clear Mr Johnson is taking the UK out of the EU with no deal on October 31, told ITV’s Peston: “Correct.”
She added: “At the end of the day I’ve been working with all my Cabinet colleagues across the summer on no-deal preparations.
“We are more prepared than people think we are, but there was always going to be more to do.
“But I’d much prefer, and the Prime Minister would much prefer, to have a deal.”
Elsewhere, the DUP confirmed party leader Arlene Foster and Irish premier Leo Varadkar met in Government Buildings after she addressed the Dublin Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
A party spokesman said: “They discussed Brexit and the need for the restoration of devolution.”