Rees-Mogg: Back Seat Driver

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg

I remember the first time I heard about Rees-Mogg, it was on Have I Got News For You where they were joking about Rees-Mogg taking his nanny with him when he went out canvassing. I was a PPC during the last election, and I remember when the results were coming in through the night when North-East Somerset results came in Rees-Mogg was standing there with a huge Tory ribbon. Even the Tories were disappointed when the BBC announced he had won. So how did a man who is a backbencher, considered eccentric and not particularly popular come to be in a position that he can threaten the Prime Minister?

Rees-Mogg was a minor player during the referendum but now as Michael Gove, and Boris Johnson (who has recently left government) are/were restricted to what they can say (believe it or not), It created a vacuum for Rees-Mogg to step into. Nigel Farage seems to be busy cultivating his relationship with the American President after failing (seven times) to get into parliament and is not seen on television commenting on Brexit as he once was.

The European Research Group (ERG) was set up In July 1993 by Sir Michael Spicer, in response to growing concern about Britain’s continued integration into the European Community through the Maastricht Treaty and its members include David Davies, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom, Iain Duncan Smith and Sajid Javid among others. Jacob Rees-Mogg took over from Suella Fernandes as the Chair this year (Suella Fernandes resigned as a junior minister on 9th July as she was not happy with the Chequers agreement reached by the Cabinet on 6th July).

Being the Chair of ERG gives Rees-Mogg a platform. No doubt having a number of members of ERG in the cabinet also strengthens and legitimises his stance, and as a result, he can be brazen about challenging Theresa May. The other thing that is going for Rees-Mogg is the strong support for Brexit in the Tory party. A large number of Tory MP’s have been fighting for many years to come out of Europe, and they are putting this particular interest ahead of party loyalty. Theresa May’s government doesn’t have a majority, and after buying support from the DUP, losing core Brexit vote in parliament would only require, I believe, 12 Tories to abstain and the government would lose.

Rees-Mogg and ERG know this, and as a result, he can write articles like the one Sunday gone (8th July) in The Telegraph where he openly challenges Theresa May by stating that a number of Tories will vote against the withdrawal agreement. Effectively this would suggest that the Chequers agreement is dead in the water unless Theresa May stands up to Rees-Mogg and the Brexit pro wing of her party. The time for manoeuvring, cajoling, and side-stepping issues have gone for Theresa May, and it is time for her to stand up and lead. She needs to take control or leave because an indecisive leader that is being pushed around by a Back Bencher can’t be trusted to negotiate possibly the most significant deal in our lifetimes.

We need a proper debate, and now more than ever a peoples vote to decide on what has been negotiated (if anything) we don’t need headlines of Tories fighting between themselves.











* Tahir Maher is the Wednesday editor and a member of the LDV editorial team

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  • William Roy 11th Jul '18 - 8:10am

    Not even worth writing a response to really.

  • The Mogg is totally committed to Brexit or is he

    Prominent Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has defended the move by a City firm that he helped to found to establish an investment fund in Ireland ahead of the UK leaving the European Union.

    The Conservative MP faced questions when it emerged that Somerset Capital Management (SCM) had launched a new investment vehicle in Dublin amid concerns about being cut off from European investors.

    Still I’m sure our resident brave Brexiteers will be along to defend him. They are past masters of doing as they are told rather than doing as their betters do; bless.

  • Phil Boothroyd 11th Jul '18 - 9:37am

    “Theresa May’s government doesn’t have a majority, and after buying support from the DUP, losing core Brexit vote in parliament would only require, I believe, 12 Tories to abstain and the government would lose.”

    This is only my opinion, but after failling to get the landslide she had hoped for when calling the 2017 general election, I don’t think it has ever been May’s plan to get the 60 odd ERG members onside. There never has been any way she (or anyone else) could present a deal that would be acceptable to both the ERG Tories, and those Tories that were pro-Remain (and when the ERG talk about bringing down the government they neglect to mention how they will pacify the equally, if not more, numerous Tories that have the sense to be against a hard Brexit). It was always going to be about coming up with some kind of deal that would pacify enough of the party + enough of the opposition to cover losses from the ERG to get through. So, despite all the rhetoric, I don’t think the current resignations, and indignation from the likes of Rees-Mogg actually represents any kind of failure of the plan, just the inevitable next part of it.

    I can’t help but think that the success or failure of the proposed deal to get past parliament depends on how well May can convince pro-Brexit Labour MPs to vote in favour and counter the ERG, and we are yet to see whether or not she can do that. That’s not impossible for her, as there are plenty of Labour MPs that would probably go along with a soft-ish Brexit that limits economic damage (especially when they can blame the Tories for that damage in future elections), while simultaneously pacifying their pro-Brexit constituencies.

    The ERG can force a no-confidence vote, but I think there is almost 0% chance of May losing the subsequent vote – and if she wins it comfortably it leaves the ERG with few cards left to play. Presumably the last option, beyond that, is that they could resign from the party, in which case the Tories would have an even smaller minority government – which might mean an earlier general election, but in my view would still probably come after negotiations.

    Just my thoughts, but from where I’m sat nothing has really changed over the last week or so.

  • John Marriott 11th Jul '18 - 9:43am

    Besides being the MP for the 18th century, Rees-Mogg appears to be obsessed with feet – or at least what goes over them. How come? Well, just listen to some of his replies when asked why the U.K. would be better off out and invariably he cites cheaper shoes. Funny that, because, back in 17 whatever, many people went around barefoot. This foot fetishism is very worrying in a future Prime Minister!

  • Christine Headley 11th Jul '18 - 11:46am

    Shoes of quality used to come from Somerset (though south of the bit Rees-Mogg represents). People used to have jobs making them.

  • I’d really rather read about what Lib Dem MPs are doing on a Lib Dem site than an xenophobic tory who doesn’t deserve the oxygen of all this extra publicity.

  • “(Theresa May) can’t be trusted to negotiate possibly the most significant deal in our lifetimes”.

    We don’t want it negotiated, do we? We want it scrapped.

  • Yeovil Yokel 11th Jul '18 - 2:27pm

    margarett – absolutely, you got in before me!

  • Tahir Maher Tahir Maher 11th Jul '18 - 2:47pm

    @Margaret – Point noted.
    @John – I agree but unfortunately, the Tories are negotiating and what we want is a peoples vote to make sure the public has a chance to reject what is looking like a very poor or no deal that the Tories are heading for.

  • John Marriott 11th Jul '18 - 3:11pm

    @John King
    “We don’t want it renegotiated, do we? We want it scrapped.” As far as I know most politicians, at least, profess to want to accept ‘the will of the people’ (whatever that really is). My feeling has always been that you have to let the negotiations, or what purports to be ‘negotiations’, run their course before deciding what ‘we’ actually want to do. Who knows, we might get something that the vast majority of us could sign up to (that is bigger than a 4% majority either way, which resolves nothing.

  • Suella *Braverman* did not resign, maybe you should do your research better.

  • Peter Martin 11th Jul '18 - 3:26pm

    “you have to let the negotiations, or what purports to be ‘negotiations’, run their course before deciding what ‘we’ actually want to do.”

    Yep. If you’ve already made up your minds that it’s going to be a bad deal, you have to at least pretend to keep an open mind, before giving the thumbs down when the process has ended.

  • Tahir Maher Tahir Maher 11th Jul '18 - 5:23pm

    @Re I think you will find she stepped down because got a junior ministerial role. But if your research is better please share it

  • I can never forget that a French newspaper once referred to his father as “Monsieur Wright-Fogg

  • The question in my mind is what should we be doing. Here I entirely agree with margarett (and Yeovil Yokel). What would our message be in a general election – or perhaps what should it be?

  • Gordon Lishman 12th Jul '18 - 8:32am

    Good shoes, such as Jacob and I wear, come from Northamptonshire.

  • Tahir Maher Tahir Maher 12th Jul '18 - 8:50am

    @ Gordon – Ha Ha. Your secret is out you are a country gentleman

  • Peter Martin 12th Jul '18 - 10:27am

    By contrast a soft brexit could go some way to satisfying the desires of both leavers and remainers

    Possibly. But my money would be that the Chequers Plan, or what’s left of it after the EU have had their way, will dissatisfy both Remainers and Leavers in equal measure.

    We should, IMO, be 100 % in or 100% out. No half measures.

  • The white paper is out today – so let’s see what the detail of the Tory proposals is really going to be – about 18th months too late in delivery, though

  • Ronald Murray 12th Jul '18 - 10:46am

    Despite his attitude to Europe I read an article alledging he has moved his own financial services business to Malta. Thus avoiding financial loss with Brexit.

  • Peter Hirst 12th Jul '18 - 1:15pm

    But that is that is what the Conservatives excel at: their One Nation mirage needs bolstering occasionally. Why have other Parties when their infighting provides opposition enough? Theresa May is on course to get the best deal she can under her leadership unless the great british public start not wanting that.

  • OnceALibDem 16th Jul '18 - 1:30pm

    “(Suella Fernandes resigned as a junior minister on 9th July as she was not happy with the Chequers agreement reached by the Cabinet on 6th July).”

    No she didn’t –

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