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Jacob Rees-Mogg

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The Honourable
Jacob Rees-Mogg
MP
Official portrait of Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg crop 2.jpg
Chairman of the European Research Group
Assumed office
16 January 2018
Preceded by Suella Fernandes
Member of Parliament
for North East Somerset
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Constituency created
Majority 10,235 (18.9%)
Personal details
Born Jacob William Rees-Mogg
(1969-05-24) 24 May 1969 (age 49)
Hammersmith, London, England
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s)
Helena de Chair (m. 2007)
Children 6
Relatives William Rees-Mogg (father)
Annunziata Glanville (née Rees-Mogg; sister)
Lady Juliet Tadgell (mother-in-law)
Education Eton College
Alma mater Trinity College, Oxford

Jacob William Rees-Mogg (born 24 May 1969) is a British politician serving as the Member of Parliament (MP) for North East Somerset since the general election of 2010. A member of the Conservative Party, his views have been characterised as right-wing, socially conservative, or as on the hard-right of the party.[1][2][3] He leads the hard Eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG).

Rees-Mogg was born in Hammersmith, London, and educated at Eton College. He then studied History at Trinity College, Oxford, and was President of the Oxford University Conservative Association. He worked in the City of London for Lloyd George Management until 2007, then co-founded a hedge fund management business, Somerset Capital Management LLP.[4][5][6] Rees-Mogg has amassed a significant fortune: in 2016, he and his wife had a combined net worth estimated at more than £100 million. Moving into politics, he unsuccessfully contested the 1997 and 2001 general elections before being elected as the MP for North East Somerset in 2010.[7] He was re-elected in 2015 and 2017. Within the Conservative Party, he joined the traditionalist and socially conservative Cornerstone Group; his views on social issues are influenced by his adherence to Roman Catholicism.

Under David Cameron's government, Rees-Mogg was one of the parliamentary Conservative Party's most rebellious members, opposing the government on issues such as the introduction of same-sex marriage and further intervention in the Syrian Civil War. He became known for his speeches and filibustering in parliamentary debates. He proposed a Conservative coalition with the UK Independence Party and made regular television appearances. A Eurosceptic, he campaigned for the Leave side in the 2016 referendum on membership of the European Union and subsequently joined pro-Brexit pressure groups Leave Means Leave and the European Research Group, becoming chairman of the latter. He attracted support through the social media campaign Moggmentum, and has been promoted as a potential successor to Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May.[8]

Rees-Mogg is a controversial figure in British politics; he has been praised as a conviction politician whose anachronistic upper-class mannerisms and consciously traditionalist attitudes are often seen as entertaining, and has been dubbed the "Honourable Member for the 18th century".[9] On the other hand, some of his positions have made him the target of organised protest and criticism; he has been accused of bigotry for his anti-feminist and anti-LGBT rights views, opposed by anti-fascists for his links with far-right groups.

Life and career

Early life and education

Rees-Mogg was born in Hammersmith on 24 May 1969, the youngest son of William Rees-Mogg (1928–2012), a former editor of The Times newspaper, created a life peer in 1988, by his wife Gillian Shakespeare Morris, a daughter of Thomas Richard Morris, a Conservative party local government politician and Mayor of St Pancras in London. He was one of five children, having three elder siblings, Emma Beatrice Rees-Mogg (born 1962),[10] Charlotte Louise Rees-Mogg (born 1964)[10] and Thomas Fletcher Rees-Mogg (born 1966),[10] and one younger sister, Annunziata Rees-Mogg (born 1979).[11]

Rees-Mogg was raised partly at Ston Easton Park in Somerset

Prior to his birth, in 1964 the family purchased Ston Easton Park, a country house located near the village of Ston Easton in Somerset, where Rees-Mogg grew up attending weekly mass and occasionally Sunday school at the Church of the Holy Ghost, Midsomer Norton.[12] Here he started catechism in 1975 under his governess and attended mass in the ordinary form.[13] A few years later, in 1978, the family moved to the nearby village of Hinton Blewett where they purchased The Old Rectory, a Grade II listed former rectory, today valued at £2 million.[14] Living in Somerset, he regularly commuted to his family's second home in Smith Square, London, where he also attended independent boys' prep school Westminster Under School.[15][16]

Growing up, Rees-Mogg was primarily raised by the family's nanny Veronica Crook, whom he describes as a formative figure.[17] Crook now looks after Rees-Mogg's own children, having worked for the family for over 50 years.[18]

When Rees-Mogg was ten, he was left £50 by a distant cousin and his father, on his behalf, invested in shares in the now-defunct General Electric Company (GEC). Rees-Mogg ascribes to this event the beginnings of his interest in stock markets. Having learned how to read company reports and balance sheets, he later attended a shareholders' meeting at GEC, where he voted against a motion because dividends were too low.[19] He subsequently invested in London-based conglomerate Lonrho, eventually owning 340 shares, and reportedly caused the company's chairman Lord Duncan-Sandys "discomfort" by quizzing him at an annual general meeting on the low dividends offered to shareholders. At GEC in 1981, where he now owned 175 shares, he told the chairman Lord Nelson that the dividend on offer was "pathetic", sparking amusement among board members and media.[20]

After prep school, Rees-Mogg entered Eton College, where he was described by a former teacher as a dogmatic Thatcherite with high opinions but never rebellious. Upon leaving Eton, he had his portrait painted by Paul Branson RP for the Eton College Collections, which was later put in display during the Faces of 1993 Royal Society of Portrait Painters exhibit.[21] (In August 2017, Rees-Mogg visited his portrait located in Provost Lord Waldegrave's house.)[22]

Rees-Mogg graduated from Trinity College, Oxford in 1991.

He later read History at Trinity College, Oxford, where he graduated with an upper second-class honours degree in 1991.[23][24] While at 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.[25][26] Reflecting on his time at university, he has admitted regret at not having studied classics.[27]

Career

After graduating from the University of Oxford in 1991, Rees-Mogg worked for the Rothschild investment bank under Nils Taube before moving to Hong Kong in 1993[28] to join Lloyd George Management.[29][30] During his tenure in Hong Kong, he became a close friend with Governor Chris Patten and was a regular at Government House. Three years later, he returned to London and was put in charge of some of the firm’s emerging markets funds and by 2003, was managing a newly established Lloyd George Emerging Markets Fund.[31] In 2007, Rees-Mogg left the company with a number of colleagues to set up their own fund management firm, Somerset Capital Management,[32] with the aid of hedge fund manager Crispin Odey. Following Rees-Mogg's election as the Member of Parliament for North East Somerset, he stepped down as chief executive of the company; however, he continues to receive income in his capacity as a partner.[28] Somerset Capital Management is managed via subsidiaries in the tax havens of the Cayman Islands and Singapore. Rees-Mogg has defended offshore tax havens, and his vast wealth (£100,000,000+, with his wife, when she comes into her inheritance, as of November 2016)[33] has left him open to the criticism that he can not understand the lives and concerns of many ordinary people.[34]

In 2018, Somerset Capital opened an investment fund in Dublin. A prospectus for the new business listed Brexit as one of the risks, as it could cause "considerable uncertainty". Rees-Mogg, who is a partner of the business but does not make investment decisions, defended the move, stating: "The decision to launch the fund was nothing whatsoever to do with Brexit."[35]

Parliamentary candidate and other roles

Rees-Mogg first entered politics at the 1997 general election at which, aged 26, he was selected as the Conservative Party candidate for Central Fife, a traditional Labour seat in Scotland. With an upper class background set against a predominantly working-class electorate, Rees-Mogg was criticised by many constituents for being too posh, a claim he refused to acknowledge as an issue.[36] News stories from the time ridiculed Rees-Mogg for canvassing the area with his family's nanny and touring the constituency in a Bentley, a claim that he later branded "scurrilous", insisting it had been a Mercedes.[37][23] With a name recognition of less than 2%,[38] Rees-Mogg managed to gain the third-highest number of votes on election night, earning 9% of all votes cast, a figure much lower than that of previous Conservative Party candidates for the area. However, no new Conservative MPs were elected in Scotland that year; the Conservative Party suffered its worst electoral defeat since 1906, and lost all its seats in Scotland.

In 1999, when it was being rumoured that his "anachronistically posh" accent was working against his chances of being selected for a safe Conservative 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".[39] 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".[40] 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."[41]

Rees-Mogg was selected as the Conservative candidate for The Wrekin in Shropshire for the 2001 general election, but lost to the sitting Labour MP Peter Bradley[42] who achieved a 0.95% swing to Labour against the national trend of a 3.5% swing to the Conservatives. From 2005 to 2008, he was the elected Chairman of the Cities of London and Westminster Conservative Association.[43]

Rees-Mogg in 2007

In 2006, Rees-Mogg criticised efforts by then-Leader of the Conservative Party David Cameron to increase the representation of ethnic minorities on the party candidate list, arguing that fulfilling quotas can often "make it harder for the intellectually able" and that "Ninety-five per cent of this country is White. The list can't be totally different from the country at large."[44]

In March 2009, Rees-Mogg was forced to apologise to Trevor Kavanagh, the then 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.[45]

In December 2009, 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.[46]

He was one of the directors of the 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 reassignment surgery at the hospital.[47]

Parliament

Rees-Mogg was described by Camilla Long in a profile in The Sunday Times as "David Cameron's worst nightmare" during the 2010 general election campaign.[48] At that election, Rees-Mogg became the new Member of Parliament for the new North East Somerset constituency with a majority of 4,914 votes.[49] His sister, journalist Annunziata Rees-Mogg, stood simultaneously in neighbouring Somerton and Frome, but failed by 1,817 votes to win her seat.[23][50] In The Guardian, Ian Jack had claimed that the selection of two such highly privileged candidates had damaged the Conservative Party's message of social inclusion, appearing to suggest that privileged candidates should be excluded.[41]

Select committee memberships[51][52]
Committee Date
Advisory Committee on Works of Art
  • 18 November 2010 to 30 March 2015
  • 1 July 2015 to 17 November 2015
European Scrutiny Committee
  • 26 July 2010 to 30 March 2015
  • 15 July 2015 to 3 May 2017
Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster
  • 16 July 2015 to 3 May 2017
Procedure Committee
  • 26 July 2010 to 30 March 2015
Treasury Select Committee
  • 8 July 2015 to 3 May 2017
Exiting the European Union Select Committee
  • 11 September 2017 to present

Cameron government

The ConservativeHome blog rates Rees-Mogg as one of the Conservatives' most rebellious MPs.[53] 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.[54]

In the House of Commons, Rees-Mogg has gained a reputation for his humorous speeches and ability to filibuster.[55][56][57] He 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.[57][58][59][60] He also attempted to amend the Daylight Saving Bill to give the county of Somerset its own time zone, fifteen minutes behind London.[61]

In a December 2011 debate on London Local Authorities Bill, he said that council officials with the power to issue on-the-spot fines should be made to wear bowler hats.[62] In February 2012, he used the word "floccinaucinihilipilification"—meaning "the habit of considering as worthless"—during a parliamentary debate; it was noted as the longest word then uttered on the floor of the House of Commons.[63]

Rees-Mogg in 2013

In May 2013, he addressed the annual dinner held by the Traditional Britain Group, a right-wing group that calls for non-white Britons to be deported. Rees-Mogg had been informed as to the nature of the group by anti-fascist group Searchlight prior to is attendance. After the dinner, he informed the press that although he had been informed of the group's views, he had "never been a member or supporter" of them.[64][65][66][67]

In January 2014, he dismissed the sum of £250,000 spent on MPs' portraits as trivial by saying "I'm all for saving money, saving money right, left and centre, but this is chicken feed".[68] In December 2014, Rees-Mogg was reported to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority for speaking in debates on tobacco, mining, and oil and gas without first verbally declaring he is founding partner and director of Somerset Capital, which manages multimillion-pound investments in these sectors.[69] The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Hudson, decided that no wrongdoing had been committed and so no investigation would take place.[70] According to The Daily Telegraph, Rees-Mogg's extra-parliamentary work took up 476 hours or 9 hours per week in 2014.[71]

May government

Rees-Mogg addressing The Thorney Island Society's gala dinner in 2016.

After Cameron resigned in the wake of the referendum result, the Conservatives had a leadership election in which Rees-Mogg initially supported Boris Johnson. After Johnson chose not to run, Rees-Mogg endorsed Michael Gove, and after Gove was eliminated he backed Andrea Leadsom. Leadsom then stepped down, allowing Theresa May to become Conservative leader and Prime Minister.[72][73]

Initially a supporter of Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election,[74] he distanced himself from the then-Republican Party nominee after the Donald Trump Access Hollywood tape surfaced in October 2016.[75] Rees-Mogg later described Trump as being "sympathetic to the UK" out of "genuine affection" for the country.[76] He has distanced himself from Trump's controversies on Twitter, saying the medium is "fundamentally trivial".[77] In November 2017, Rees-Mogg met Trump's former White House Chief Strategist and Breitbart News' executive chairman Steve Bannon to discuss how right-wing movements can succeed in the United Kingdom and the United States.[78] Rees-Mogg later defended the meeting when asked about it in an interview, stating, "I've talked to any number of people whose political views I do not share or fully endorse ... Inevitably politicians meet other politicians. Mr Bannon was the chief of staff to President Trump and is a senior figure in the Republican Party."[79]

Rees-Mogg is widely regarded as a potential candidate for the leadership of his party,[80][81] something he was reportedly considering during 2017.[82][83] On 13 August 2017, however, Rees-Mogg said that such speculation was "part of media’s silly season".[84] Two Conservative MPs, Heidi Allen and Anna Soubry, announced that they would leave the party if he became leader;[85][86] another, Justine Greening, suggested she could do the same.[87] However, other Conservative MPs, such as Jesse Norman,[88] and Daniel Kawczynski have expressed support for a prospective Rees-Mogg leadership bid.[89] Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has also backed a potential Rees-Mogg candidacy.[90]

Moggmentum logo used by various supporters

Following the 2017 general election, calls were made for Theresa May to step down as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party after failing to win an overall majority in the House of Commons.[91] This led news outlets to begin speculating on May's possible successor with Boris Johnson touted as the bookmakers' favourite and Rees-Mogg being given 50/1 odds.[92] A day after the election on 9 June an online petition, titled Ready for Rees-Mogg, was set up urging Rees-Mogg to run for leader of the Conservative Party. Hoping to mirror the success of pro-Corbyn activist group Momentum, a 'play on words' hashtag of Moggmentum was created.[93][94] By 8 July, the campaign had attracted over 13,000 signatures and raised £2,000 in donations with leadership odds being slashed to 16/1 making him second favourite behind David Davis.[95] On 14 August, co-founder of Ready for Rees-Mogg Sam Frost announced the petition had gathered 22,000 registered supporters, 700 volunteers and £7,000 in donations, despite Rees-Mogg having said a day earlier that such speculation was "part of media’s silly season".[96][97] On 5 September 2017, a poll conducted by ConservativeHome put Rees-Mogg as the favourite for next leader, with 23% of the votes based on 1,309 people surveyed.[98]

In January 2018 he was elected chair of the European Research Group, a Eurosceptic pressure group within the Conservative Party.[99] A report in The Independent suggested that this position provided him with the immediate support of around 50 Conservative MPs, a sufficient number to trigger a leadership contest.[100] Rees-Mogg has since directly criticised the leadership of May and chancellor Philip Hammond, fuelling more rumours that he is planning to stand for the leadership, but reiterated he has no intention of doing so.[101] In February, a speech that Rees-Mogg was giving at the University of the West of England was disrupted when protesters accused him of being a racist and a bigot; violence broke out between the protesters and Mogg's supporters.[102] After the incident, Britain First pledged to defend him from anti-fascist demonstrators.[103]

Political ideology

Rees-Mogg debating at The Cambridge Union in 2012

Rees-Mogg's political views have been described as High Tory,[104][105] reactionary,[104][106] traditionalist,[107][108] nationalist,[109] socially conservative,[110][104] and right-wing populist,[104][111] although he has rejected that description, stating that he stands for "popular policies, not populist policies".[112] He has been located on the hard right of the Conservative Party.[103] Rees-Mogg is a staunch monarchist.[113] He is a member of the Cornerstone Group.[114]

Opposition to membership of the European Union

Writing in The Daily Telegraph in May 2013, the Eurosceptic Rees-Mogg asked whether it was time to make a "big open and comprehensive offer" to the UK Independence Party (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 Prime Minister.[115] His remarks angered his party leadership, while UKIP said it was against any formal arrangements.[116] In 2017, he supported the confidence and supply agreement made between the Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).[117]

As a vocal critic of the European Union[118] Rees-Mogg was a leading figure in the campaign for the United Kingdom leaving the European Union appearing in a number of interviews to debate the topic. Speaking at the Oxford Union he described the EU as a threat to British democracy and to the sovereignty of parliament citing various countries' rejection of the European Constitution which was later implemented via the Treaty of Lisbon.[119][120] He later credited the DUP for having "saved" Brexit by torpedoing an agreement between the government and the EU.[121] After meeting with a representative of the Alternative for Germany party, he criticised the party for being insufficiently eurosceptic, stating that "German euroscepticism is milk to British euroscepticism’s brandy."[122][123]

Rees-Mogg's relationship with reactionary and ultra-nationalist movements such as the Traditional Britain Group has led Suzanne Moore of The Guardian to call him "a thoroughly modern bigot" and to describe his political views as "verg[ing] on fascistic .. dressed up in tweed with a knowledge of the classics".[124]

Education

Counter to the Conservatives' U-turn on turning state schools into academies, Rees-Mogg is a proponent of academy-based education, reasoning that it gives schools more freedom from local education authorities to make decisions and cuts down on bureaucracy.[125] While defending the list of Conservative candidates for the 2005 election he said that it would be foolish to disbar candidates who attended Oxford and Cambridge Universities – typically considered the most prestigious universities in the UK – from selection, saying that the country would not be best run by "potted plants". This was perceived as an attack against those who did not attend Oxbridge universities or go to public school, with many in the British media accusing him of elitism and snobbery.[126][127][128]

In February 2016 police investigated after Rees-Mogg was caught in the middle of a scuffle at a university campus when protesters disrupted a student event in Bristol.[129]

Climate change

Regarding climate change, Rees-Mogg thinks solutions that do not hinder technological progress should be sought.[130] He has argued for abolition of environmental protections: "We could say, if it's good enough in India, it's good enough for here. There's nothing to stop that. We could take it a very long way...I accept that we're not going to allow dangerous toys to come in from China, we don’t want to see those kind of risks. But there's a very long way you can go."[131]

Economic and labour policy

While Rees-Mogg largely espouses free market economic views, he endorses a role for state intervention, having been influenced by both Robert Peel, an economic liberal, and Benjamin Disraeli, a protectionist. He believes that improving people's lives requires “some use of the powers that the government has”.[132]

Rees-Mogg is a supporter of zero-hour contracts, arguing that they benefit employees, including students, by providing flexibility and could provide a route into more permanent employment.[133] He rejected criticism by Vince Cable and others that they were exploitative as "the standard response of the left".[133] In September 2017, Rees-Mogg suggested that food banks fulfil a vital function, and proceeded to argue that "to have charitable support given by people voluntarily to support their fellow citizens I think is rather uplifting and shows what a good, compassionate country we are". He went on to argue that "the real reason for the rise in numbers is that people know that they are there and Labour deliberately didn't tell them." During the same interview Rees-Mogg conceded that people have "found life tough" but suggested the best way out of poverty was through employment.[134]

Foreign relations

Rees-Mogg has been critical of British involvement in the Syrian Civil War, denouncing a proposal to arm the Syrian rebels[135] and arguing that "The consequences of the efforts to undermine Assad have been the rise of terrorism and the mass movement of people."[136] He has described foreign aid as "fundamentally wasteful",[137] and supported a campaign by the Daily Express to reduce Britain's foreign aid budget.[138]

Immigration

He has previously voted for a stricter asylum system and a more controlled immigration policy in order to reduce net migration.[139] He believes low-skilled immigration has harmed the "least well off in our own society", and the government benefits immigrants receive constitute a "major subsidy in encouraging people to come to compete with our indigenous communities".[140] According to Nigel Farage, Rees-Mogg believes a poster featuring the words "breaking point" overlaid on an image of columns of Syrian refugees entering Europe "won the referendum" for the Leave campaign.[141] As a supporter of Brexit he is in favour of the end of free movement of people to the United Kingdom, however wants the rights of non-British EU citizens residing in the UK to be protected and not retrospectively retracted.[142]

Same-sex marriage

Regarding same-sex marriage, Rees-Mogg has stated that he is opposed to it and "not proud" of it being legal, for it does not align with his Catholic faith,[143] and that it will alienate traditional supporters of the party.[144][145] In an interview with Radio 4, Rees-Mogg said that he had made it quite clear to his constituents that in this sort of matter he takes his whip from the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church rather than the Whip’s Office.[146][147] He later elaborated that in his view "marriage is a sacrament and the decision of what is a sacrament lies with the Church, not with Parliament." Despite his stance, Rees-Mogg has said that there is "no question of any of these laws being changed", and that it wasn't for him to enforce his morals on others.[148]

Abortion

As a result of his religious views, Rees-Mogg is against abortion in all circumstances, including in cases of rape, stating "I am completely opposed to abortion, life begins at the point of conception. With same-sex marriage, that is something that people are doing for themselves. With abortion, that is what people are doing to the unborn child."[149] However, he also noted he believes the UK's abortion laws are "not going to change".[150] He has described increased access to emergency contraception as "a great sadness, because life begins at the point of conception".[151]

In October 2017 it was reported that Somerset Capital Management, of which Rees-Mogg is a partner, had invested £5m in a company that produces and markets pills designed to treat stomach ulcers but widely used in illegal abortions in Indonesia. Rees-Mogg defended the investment by arguing that the company in question "obeys Indonesian law so it's a legitimate investment and there's no hypocrisy. The law in Indonesia would satisfy the Vatican".[152] Several days later it was reported that Somerset Capital Management also held shares in a company, FDC, that sold drugs used as part of legal abortions in India. Somerset Capital Management subsequently sold the shares it had held in FDC. Rees-Mogg explained: "I am glad to say it's a stock that we no longer hold. I would not try to defend investing in companies that did things I believe are morally wrong".[153]

Media

Rees-Mogg appeared on The 11 O'Clock Show in 1999, where he was interviewed by Ali G, who called him "Lord Rees-Mogg" and attempted to talk about social class.[154] He appeared as a guest panelist on Have I Got News for You in December 2016.[155]

In October 2017, Rees-Mogg presented talk radio station LBC's morning show for a day, where he discussed Brexit, foreign policy and the T-charge with callers, including Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable. Rees-Mogg was praised for his sense of charm and humour.[156] He returned to present a Sunday show on LBC in February 2018.[157]

Rees-Mogg has his own dedicated podcast known as 'The MoggCast', which, in association with ConservativeHome, features Jacob Rees-Mogg discussing a wide array of current events on a fortnightly basis.[158]

Public image

According to the Evening Standard, Rees-Mogg has generated controversy through some of his "more extreme views".[102] The commentator Suzanne Moore compared Rees-Mogg to Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, and Donald Trump, noting that like them "he embodies the three things that many people require of modern politicians: a veneer of authenticity; an ability to cut through perceived liberal wisdom; and enormous privilege that is flaunted, rather than hidden."[124] Moore was of the view that he uses his "religious faith" in an attempt to "excuse his appalling bigotry".[124]

Rees-Mogg has at various times both described himself as a "man of the people"[159] and rejected that description, saying "The 'man of the people’ act is the height of condescension."[160]

Personal life

In 2007, Rees-Mogg was married in a ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral.

In 2006, Rees-Mogg became engaged to Helena Anne Beatrix Wentworth Fitzwilliam de Chair, a writer for a trade magazine and the only child of Somerset de Chair and his fourth wife Lady Juliet Tadgell. Rees-Mogg had first met de Chair, a close friend of his sister, when they were children, and they began dating the year before their engagement, after Rees-Mogg had gained the blessing of Lady Juliet.[161] Owing to Rees-Mogg being a Roman Catholic and de Chair an Anglican, the couple were married in an ecumenical ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral, Kent, in 2007.[162] Together the couple live at Gournay Court in West Harptree and have six children:[163][164]

  • Peter Theodore Alphege Rees-Mogg (b. 2007)
  • Mary Anne Charlotte Emma Rees-Mogg (b. 2008)
  • Thomas Wentworth Somerset Dunstan Rees-Mogg (b. 2010)
  • Anselm Charles Fitzwilliam Rees-Mogg (b. 2012)[165][166]
  • Alfred Wulfric Leyson Pius Rees-Mogg (b. 22 February 2016)[167]
  • Sixtus Dominic Boniface Christopher Rees-Mogg (b. July 2017)[168]

In 2010 the couple purchased the Grade II* listed Gournay Court,[169] a former Red Cross hospital where Rees-Mogg's great aunt served as a volunteer nurse and the resident matron during the First World War.[170]

Since 2010, Rees-Mogg has lived at Gournay Court.

Speaking in July 2017, Rees-Mogg conceded that "I’ve made no pretence to be a modern man at all, ever". During the same interview, he admitted that he had never changed a nappy, noting that "I don’t think nanny would approve because I’m sure she’d think I wouldn’t do it properly".[18] These remarks sparked criticism from other MPs. In September 2017 Labour MP Harriet Harman argued that "Men who don’t change nappies are deadbeat dads – and that includes Jacob Rees-Mogg".[171]

Of his extended family, Rees-Mogg is the grandson of Thomas Richard Morris, a former mayor of St Pancras and the uncle of Olympic athlete Lawrence Clarke.[172]

On 15 July 2017 he joined Twitter, writing in Latin: Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis. ("the times change, and we change with them").[173] He also uses Instagram and has discovered he enjoys social media.[164]

As a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Historic Vehicles, Rees-Mogg has an interest in historic cars. Aged 23, he purchased a 1968 T-Series Bentley previously owned by cricketer Gubby Allen, and which Rees-Mogg reportedly used while canvassing for votes in Central Fife. In 2005, Rees-Mogg added a 1936 3.5 Litre Bentley to his collection alongside a Lexus for everyday use.[174]

Rees-Mogg is also a cricket enthusiast and has supported Somerset County Cricket Club since his youth.[175]

In May 2018 his purchase of a £5.625 million property on Cowley Street, behind Westminster Abbey, fuelled speculation that Mogg was "vying for the role of Prime Minister".[176]

Electoral history

General election 2017: North East Somerset[177]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg 28,992 53.6 +3.9
Labour Robin Moss 18,757 34.7 +9.9
Liberal Democrat Manda Rigby 4,461 8.3 +0.4
Green Sally Calverley 1,245 2.3 -3.2
Independent Shaun Hughes 588 1.1 +1.1
Majority 10,235 19.0 -5.9
Turnout 54,043 75.7 +2.0
Conservative hold Swing -3.0
General election 2015: North East Somerset[178]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg 25,439 49.8 +8.5
Labour Todd Foreman 12,690 24.8 −6.8
UKIP Ernest Blaber 6,150 12.0 +8.6
Liberal Democrat Wera Hobhouse 4,029 7.9 −14.4
Green Katy Boyce[179] 2,802 5.5 +4.2
Majority 12,749 24.9 +15.3
Turnout 51,110 73.7 -2.3
Conservative hold Swing +7.65
General election 2010: North East Somerset[49]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg 21,130 41.3 +2.2
Labour Dan Norris 16,216 31.7 −7.0
Liberal Democrat Gail Coleshill 11,433 22.3 +2.7
UKIP Peter Sandell 1,754 3.4 +1.2
Green Michael Jay 670 1.3 +1.3
Majority 4,914 9.6
Turnout 51,203 76.0 +4.5
Conservative hold Swing +4.6
General election 2001: The Wrekin
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Peter Bradley 19,532 47.1 +0.1
Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg 15,945 38.4 −1.8
Liberal Democrat Ian Jenkins 4,738 11.4 −1.4
UKIP Denis Brookes 1,275 3.1 N/A
Majority 3,587 8.7
Turnout 41,490 63.1 −12.1
Labour hold Swing +0.95
General election 1997: Central Fife
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Henry McLeish 23,912 58.7 +8.3
SNP Tricia Marwick 10,199 25.0 −0.1
Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg 3,669 9.0 −8.6
Liberal Democrat Ross Laird 2,610 6.4 −0.5
Referendum John Scrymgeour-Wedderburn 375 0.9 N/A
Majority 13,713 33.6 +8.3
Turnout 40,765
Labour hold Swing

Writings

See also

References

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External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Constituency Created
Member of Parliament
for North East Somerset

2010–present
Incumbent