As the Brexit negotiations flounder and Conservatives across Britain feel sidelined by the present Tory government, a new contender for the Leadership emerges in one Jacob Rees-Mogg. The 48-year-old Member of Parliament for North Somerset has been gaining support in the last few months as his outspoken views on Brexit, tradition, and Constitution seem to be rallying Britons like never before.
Known affectionately as “the Member of Parliament for the 18th Century”, Mr. Rees-Mogg is a traditionalist who promotes family values, is a Constitutional expert, father of six, and is regarded as the most well-spoken and uniquely friendly person in British politics.
He has come to prominence through his campaigning for the Brexit result and his ability to answer questions in a reasonable, easy to understand manner…even when those questions are avoided by other politicians. An online campaign called “Moggmentum” has garnered much support, and the online petition – “ready for Rees-Mogg” has collected thousands of signatures.
Rees-Mogg has long been a popular choice for radio and TV as he is knowledgeable and interesting at the same time, and his appeal has spread across parties. Traditional Tories, “disaffected UKIP” and even non-Corbyn Labour, seem happy to promote him as a “clear-headed and principled MP”; it is his cross-party appeal that may steer him into Number 10.
Historian Tim Newark, writing in the Sunday Times said he is “like an English version of Donald Trump but with a better grasp of Latin”. And this is in many ways true. Mr. Rees-Mogg has captivated the imaginations of voters in a way that few other have. He does, however, lack President Trump’s flair with Twitter; he has to date published only 19 Tweets, the first of which being this:
Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis.
— Jacob Rees-Mogg (@Jacob_Rees_Mogg) July 15, 2017
“Times change, and we change with them.”
The lack of leadership from Prime Minister Theresa May regarding the Brexit negotiations has enraged many of the Brexit voters who feel that the Government is attempting to keep the UK in the EU through back-door policies and “transitional agreements”. After calling a snap-election two months ago, she miscalculated and ended up with a smaller majority and a weaker position. Many in her own ranks are looking for a leader who can appeal to the Traditionalist base whilst gathering in new votes from UKIP and more traditional Labour voters.
The Moggmentum campaign is up and running, all that remains to be seen is whether Jacob Rees-Mogg himself will decide to take a shot at the top spot. In his usual manner, when asked if he were planning to run, he said: “I think if I threw my hat into the ring, my hat would be thrown back at me pretty quickly.” However, sources close to him have said that he is giving “careful consideration” to his political career. In British politics, this answer traditionally means: Yes.
Mark is a political writer and journalist who has worked on campaigns for Brexit.