Eton-educated Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg is favourite to replace Theresa May; according to a new poll from Conservative Home. Dubbed the “Honourable Member for the early twentieth century”, Rees-Mogg is the perfect figurehead for a Conservative Party in full reverse gear.
Who is Jacob Rees-Mogg?
48-year-old Rees-Mogg is Conservative MP for North East Somerset. He is the son of Lord William Rees-Mogg (former editor of The Times) and Gillian Shakespeare Morris (daughter of Conservative MP Thomas Richard Morris). He credits the family nanny, Veronica Cook, with making him the man he is today. She was the constant carer between the family’s West Country and London residences. He was educated at Eton College and Oxford University, where he became President of the Oxford University Conservative Association.
After graduation, Rees-Mogg went to the City of London where he worked for the Rothschild bank. Later he worked in Hong Kong and established his own financial services consultancy.
In 2007, he married Helena de Chair, daughter of Somerset de Chair and Lady Juliet Tadgell. The couple live in Gourney Court in Somerset with their six children. Rees-Mogg retained the services of nanny Cook, who now raises his children. Between Rees-Mogg’s banking millions, and his wife’s inheritance as the sole heir of the Fitzwilliam fortune, the couple have an estimated worth of between £100m and £150m.
After several failed attempts, Rees-Mogg became an MP in 2010.
The finishing of tweed and an accent that could cut glass give Rees-Mogg the feel of a man out of his time. If he was sped up 1.5 times and given a sepia filter, his Victorian look would be complete. And like Boris Johnson, he leverages his novelty to neutralise the most noxious of his views.
What are his political views?
It could be argued that Rees-Mogg’s views are as Victorian as his affectations. He is a strong supporter of the monarchy and fox hunting. And in 2015, he voted against granting same-sex couples the right to marry. And his voting record on tax is another area of interest. He supports increased taxes on universal areas such as VAT, cigarettes and alcohol. But he voted against tax increases on those earning over £150,000 a year, and against a tax on bankers’ bonuses.
The Conservative MP has voted consistently to reduce welfare payments to sick and disabled people and families. And he supports cutting spending on, and increasing privatisation of, public services. He is also a prominent Brexiteer, seeking a hard Brexit from the European Union.
Writing for The Telegraph, Dr Phil Hammond once described life in Rees-Mogg’s constituency:
Prior to Jacob we had Dan the Labour man, but when the constituency boundaries were changed so that we all now live on Jacob’s estate, he emerged the clear victor.
During his first term of office I only met Jacob once, when he supported a petition against the dumping of asbestos on our doorstep. It took him a while to come round to our point of view, and it only happened when he realised which way the wind was blowing (towards the estate).
And being the wannabe feudal lord of North East Somerset is not Rees-Mogg’s only issue with class. While railing against being judged for his clipped pronunciation, he once said of Labour’s John Prescott that his “accent certainly stereotypes him as an oaf”.
But in a new poll, Rees-Mogg is favourite to become the next leader of the Conservative Party. This means that, if May is ousted prior to the next general election, Rees-Mogg could be moving to Number 10. The West Country MP won nearly 30% of the vote, beating former favourite, Brexit Secretary David Davis.
The novelty of a Rees-Mogg premiership would likely rub off about as quickly as the Trump presidency in the United States. It’s one thing watching an oafish man filibuster from the backbenches, and quite another to watch him embarrass and endanger your country from the front. But despite being a live-action role-play Victorian, Rees-Mogg is the future of the Conservative Party. His social conservatism, commitment to maintaining the class system, and hostility to the welfare state all follow the current trajectory of his party. A party which appears to have abandoned any pretence of compassion or meritocracy altogether.
Yes, a Prime Minister Rees-Mogg would be a disaster for Britain. But the Conservative Party already is.
– Learn more about the Unseat Campaign to vote out Conservative MPs in marginal seats.
– Read more on Jacob Rees-Mogg from The Canary
Featured image via Wikipedia
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