Revered filibusterer and fierce Brexiteer, Jacob Rees-Mogg, returned to his old stomping ground, Trinity College, for a debate last Sunday. Unsurprisingly, given Rees-Mogg’s reputation as a euro-sceptic, the motion was centred around Brexit, but was given a twist, as the spotlight focused on the question of British sovereignty: “This house believes that EU membership is an unjustifiable infringement on UK sovereignty”.
The floor’s overwhelmingly pro-EU stance going into the debate was clear from the first vote: eight in favour of the proposition (pro-Brexit), 58 against and 12 undecided.
In his speech, the floor witnessed Rees-Mogg’s well-practiced and eloquent oratorical skills, as he explained, in a very methodical manner, why he believed that in order to recover our sovereignty, especially over law making, we needed to leave the EU. The most persuasive element of his speech was when he exposed that in order for a law to be passed, it has to first be approved and proposed by the EU Commission, which, vitally, is an unelected body. He said, “We need to focus on where sovereignty comes from: your vote. Now, if your vote is unable to change the law, then your sovereignty is eroded.”
He closed his speech by saying, “You have a choice. You need to decide what your country is. Is it the failing and bureaucratic Europe? Or, is it the strong, independent and sovereign Britain.”
The well practiced speech of Rees-Mogg wasn’t able to convince enough students to turn the tide of the debate. The final vote revealed a minor increase in favour of the proposition,
The final figures were: 12 for, 51 against and five undecided.