|Member of Parliament
for North East Somerset
6 May 2010
|Preceded by||New constituency|
24 May 1969 |
Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
|Spouse(s)||Helena de Chair|
|Relations||William Rees-Mogg, father|
|Children||3 sons, 1 daughter|
|Residence||West Harptree, Somerset|
Trinity College, Oxford
Jacob William Rees-Mogg (born 24 May 1969) is a British Conservative Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for North East Somerset since the 2010 general election. Rees-Mogg is in the Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party. He is married to Helena de Chair, with whom he has three sons and a daughter.
Rees-Mogg is the son of the late William Rees-Mogg, a former editor of The Times and life peer, which entitles him to be addressed as The Honourable. A member of an old established Somerset family of coal mine owners, Rees-Mogg was born in Hammersmith, London and grew up in Ston Easton, Somerset. Rees-Mogg was educated at Eton College and subsequently read history at Trinity College, Oxford. He became president of the Oxford University Conservative Association and was a member and frequent debater at the Oxford Union, where he was elected Librarian (the Union's second-highest position), but later failed in his bid for the presidency.
Before entering Parliament
At the 1997 general election, Rees-Mogg was the Tory candidate for the solidly Labour seat of Central Fife and attracted ridicule after canvassing a largely working-class neighbourhood with his nanny; on election night he came third, gaining 9% of the votes cast, slightly fewer than half of the votes won by the previous Conservative candidate in 1993. However, rumours that he had gone around the constituency in a Bentley were described as "scurrilous" − he insisted it had been a Mercedes.
In 1999, when it was being rumoured that his "anachronistically posh" received pronunciation accent was working against his chances of being selected for a safe Tory seat, Rees-Mogg was defended by letter writers to The Daily Telegraph, one of whom claimed that "an overt form of intimidation exists, directed against anyone who dares to eschew the current, Americanised, mode of behaviour, speech and dress". Rees-Mogg himself stated (in The Sunday Times, 23 May 1999) that "it is rather pathetic to fuss about accents too much", though he then went on to say that "John Prescott's accent certainly stereotypes him as an oaf". He later said "I gradually realised that whatever I happened to be speaking about, the number of voters in my favour dropped as soon as I opened my mouth."
Rees-Mogg stood for The Wrekin in Shropshire in 2001, losing to the Labour MP Peter Bradley who achieved a 0.95% swing to Labour against the national trend of a 3.5% swing to the Conservatives. Between 2005 and 2008 Rees-Mogg was the elected Chairman of the Cities of London and Westminster Conservative Association.
He was one of the directors of the Roman Catholic Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in London who were ordered to resign by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor in February 2008 after protracted arguments over the adoption of a tighter ethical code banning non-Catholic practices such as abortions and Gender Re-Assignment Surgery.
In March 2009, Rees-Mogg was forced to apologise to Trevor Kavanagh, former political editor of The Sun, after it was shown that a newsletter signed by Rees-Mogg had plagiarised sections of a Kavanagh article that had appeared in the newspaper over a month earlier.
In December, a pamphlet which purported to show him talking to a local constituent and calling on the Government to "show more honesty" was criticised after it emerged that the "constituent" was a London-based employee of his investment firm.
Being the caricature of a "detached" and "other-worldly" Tory, he was described as Conservative leader "David Cameron’s worst nightmare" by The Times during the 2010 general election campaign. At that election Rees-Mogg became the member of parliament for the new North East Somerset constituency with a majority of 4,914. His sister, the journalist Annunziata Rees-Mogg, stood simultaneously in the neighbouring Somerton and Frome, but failed to win her seat by 1,817 votes.The Guardian had previously criticised the damage done to the Tory message of social inclusion by the selection of two highly privileged candidates.
The ConservativeHome blog rates Rees-Mogg as one of the Conservatives' most rebellious MPs. He has voted against the government whip on the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill, the October 2011 European Union Referendum Motion and the House of Lords Reform Bill 2012.
He also helped filibuster the Daylight Saving Bill 2010–12 and the Sustainable Livestock Bill 2010–12, thus preventing their passage through Parliament. In his long speech on the Sustainable Livestock Bill, he recited poetry; spoke of the superior quality of Somerset eggs, and mentioned the fictional pig, the Empress of Blandings, who won silver at the Shropshire County Show three years in a row, before moving on to talk about the sewerage system and the Battle of Agincourt. He also attempted to amend the Daylight Saving Bill to give the county of Somerset its own time zone, 15 minutes behind London.
In February 2012 Rees-Mogg made the record books with the use of floccinaucinihilipilification—an Eton college neologism meaning "the habit of considering as worthless"—in the House of Commons which became the longest word in Hansard. Rees-Mogg is comically known by parliamentary sketch writers as "the honourable member for the early 20th century".
Rees-Mogg is a supporter of zero-hour contracts arguing that they do benefit employees including students by providing flexibility and could provide a route into more permanent employment. He rejected criticism by Vince Cable and others that they were exploitative as "the standard response of the Left".
Writing in The Daily Telegraph in May 2013, Rees-Mogg asked whether it was time to make a “big open and comprehensive offer” to UKIP. He said collaboration would be straightforward as policies were similar on "many issues" and most Conservatives would prefer Nigel Farage to Nick Clegg as deputy PM. His remarks angered his party leadership whilst UKIP said it was against any formal arrangements. Paul Goodman, editor of the right-leaning political blog ConservativeHome, said he believed a short-term pact was both impractical and undesirable.
Other news stories
On 17 May 2013, Rees-Mogg addressed the Traditional Britain Group annual dinner. He was warned in the days before the dinner by Searchlight, an anti-far right magazine, that the Traditional Britain Group promoted extreme right-wing policies regarding immigration. However there was no mention of immigration in the discussion with the organisers immediately before dinner. In early August he declared that he was "shocked" that the Group publicly attacked Labour's nomination of Doreen Lawrence as a Life Peer, saying she "was without merit", and calling for the Conservative Party's 1970 general Election Manifesto pledge to encourage state-assisted voluntary repatriation for immigrants return to their "natural homelands", including Mrs Lawrence, to be resurrected. Rees-Mogg, who was pictured sitting next to Gregory Lauder-Frost, former committee member of the Monday Club, claimed that the dinner organisers had dismissed comments that they were racist as a smear, whilst Conservative Central Office "had no knowledge of them".
Failure to declare interests
In December 2014 Rees-Mogg was reported to the Parliament's standards watchdog for speaking in debates on tobacco, mining and oil and gas without first declaring he is founding partner and director of Somerset Capital which has multimillion pound investments in the sectors. However, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Hudson, decided that no wrongdoing had been committed and so no investigation would take place.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Mogg's extra-parliamentary work took up 476 hours or 9 hours per week in 2014.
In January 2007 Rees-Mogg married Helena de Chair, a writer on a trade magazine for the oil industry. She is the daughter of Somerset de Chair and his fourth wife, Lady Juliet Tadgell, the only child of the eighth and last Earl Fitzwilliam. His nephew is the athlete Lawrence Somerset Clarke.
Rees-Mogg, a Catholic, and de Chair, an Anglican, were married in an ecumenical marriage ceremony in Canterbury Cathedral. Part of the service included a Roman Catholic Tridentine Mass (Latin rite) conducted by Dom Aidan Bellenger, the Abbot of Downside Abbey. Rees-Mogg likes to attend the Tridentine Mass when available: "We're very lucky if we get it in Somerset once a month. The more you go the more you will find that it is a good thing to go to. You get some time to think and it's not all noisy – and there's no risk of guitars. I think Mass can be too noisy and guitars should be banned."
|General Election 2010: North East Somerset|
|Liberal Democrat||Gail Coleshill||11,433||22.3||+2.7|
|General Election 2001: The Wrekin|
|Liberal Democrat||Ian Jenkins||4,738||11.4||-1.4|
|General Election 1997: Central Fife|
|Liberal Democrat||Ross Laird||2,610||6.4||-0.5|
|Referendum Party||John Scrymgeour-Wedderburn||375||0.9||N/A|
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- "Sustainable Livestock Bill". They Work for You. mySociety. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
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- Jacob Rees-Mogg (12 November 2010). "Sustainable Livestock Bill". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons of the United Kingdom. col. 605.
- "Tory MP calls for Somerset to have its own time zone". BBC News. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- "Clause 3 – Powers exercisable by police civilians and accredited persons". They Work for You. mySociety. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
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- Westminster Hour. 12 May 2013. BBC Radio 4.
- Rees-Mogg, Jacob (6 August 2013). "Zero-hours contracts: why do Lefties always think they know best?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
- Rees-Mogg, Jacob (7 May 2013). "Reunite the right: give Ukip jobs in a Conservative ministry". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
- Helm, Toby (1 February 2014). "Ukip pact backed by nearly half of Conservative activists". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
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- Holehouse, Matthew (8 August 2013). "Jacob Rees-Mogg's shock at dinner with group that want to repatriate black Britons". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- Morris, Nigel (8 August 2013). "Jacob Rees-Mogg’s after-dinner speech to group calling on Doreen Lawrence to ‘go home’". The Independent. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- Mason, Rowena (8 August 2013). "Jacob Rees-Mogg 'shocked' by rightwing group's attack on Lawrence". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- Merrick, Jane (14 December 2014). "Leading Tory backbench MP Jacob Rees-Mogg 'failed to declare interests'". The Independent. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- "Jacob Rees-Mogg will face no investigation over declaration of interests". The Bristol Post. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- Telford, Lyndsey; Heighton, Luke (22 February 2015). "The MPs who topped up their salaries with £1,600-an-hour second jobs". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
- Hart, Simon (28 September 2010). "Charles Lawrence Somerset Clarke eyes next hurdle". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- Rees-Mogg, William (24 January 2007). "The wonders of Christianity (and chick-lit)". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- Teahan, Madeleine (2 August 2013). "Jacob Rees-Mogg: 'I think Mass can be too noisy and guitars should be banned'". The Catholic Herald. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
- Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Official website
- Jacob Rees Mogg MP Conservative Party
- North East Somerset Conservatives
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Electoral history and profile at The Guardian
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
- Jacob Rees-Mogg portrait in the collection of Eton College Paul Brason, Portrait Artist
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for North East Somerset