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Jacob Rees-Mogg labelled 'the physical embodiment of arrogance, entitlement and contempt for parliament' after lying down during crucial Brexit debate

The Independent logo The Independent 04/09/2019 Conrad Duncan
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Jacob Rees-Mogg has been criticised for lying down on the front benches of the House of Commons during a key debate on Brexit.

The leader of the House was accused of showing “contempt” to parliament while he assumed a relaxed position while MPs debated how to prevent a no-deal exit from the European Union (EU).

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas chastised the Conservative MP directly.

As other MPs shouted “sit up”, she said: “Now, there’s been a lot of talk about democracy tonight and the leader of the House, who I have to say with his body language throughout this evening has been so contemptuous of this House and of the people."

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She added that for the benefit of Hansard, parliament’s written record, "the leader of the House has been spread out across three seats, lying out as if it was something boring to listen to tonight.

"Can I just say to him when he's been lecturing us on democracy, we will have none of it."

Labour's Anna Turley also posted a picture of Mr Rees-Mogg on her Twitter account, alongside the caption: “The physical embodiment of arrogance, entitlement, disrespect and contempt for our parliament.”

Her fellow Labour MP Phil Wilson echoed her comment.

“I grew up on a council estate in a pit village in County Durham. I was taught to sit up straight and show respect,” he said. "Jacob Rees-Mogg had all the advantageous [sic] money can buy and can do neither. What a waste of an education.”

Mr Rees-Mogg appeared unfazed by the criticism and remained in his relaxed position despite protests from other MPs, with a smirk on his face.

However, he was not sitting so casually when the government was defeated in a vote, allowing MPs them to bring a bill requesting a Brexit delay.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government lost its first Commons vote by 328 to 301, with 21 Conservative MPs rebelling from their party to seize control of the parliamentary timetable.

The group of Conservatives who defied the government, which included former chancellors Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke, have all had the whip removed and will now sit as independent MPs.

“Tonight’s vote made even the leader of the House sit up,” Anna Soubry, leader of The Independent Group for Change, joked after the result.

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