Jacob Rees-Mogg has told Guido that him becoming Tory leader “is simply not something that is going to happen”. Speaking to a crowd of fans gathered in Portcullis House’s Boothroyd Room tonight, we asked the Mogg to rule out ever running for PM:
Guido: “Could you categorically rule out for us that you will ever put yourself forward to become Prime Minister?”
Rees-Mogg: “We know about Jim Hacker’s answer from Yes, Minister, just before he becomes Prime Minister. It was that “I have no ambitions in that direction, but if my friends and colleagues advise me that in some humble capacity I can serve my country…” and of course that meant “yes”.
Let me be absolutely clear: I’m not a candidate, there is not a vacancy, I fully support Theresa May and want her to continue. And I’m a backbench MP. In the whole history of the Prime Ministership, the party in office has never felt so desperate that it has dragged somebody from the obscurity of the backbenches to thrust them into the highest office. So the answer to your question is that it is simply not something that is going to happen.”
Almost a categorical denial…
Almost a hundred Moggmainiacs attended the Conservative Voice ‘In the Hot Seat’ event. In a wide-ranging address which took in taxation, North Korea and Brexit, Rees-Mogg instead joked he wanted to become Pope rather than PM. The Mogg hit out at the “centralised” party, saying: “it is the voluntary party that makes this Conservative Party“.
He panned George Osborne and delighted fans by deftly switching between policy discussion and anecdotes of how he attended shareholder meetings aged only ten, telling the chairman that dividends were down. They love him, but the Mogg says he doesn’t want it…