Jacob Rees-Mogg Criticised For Claiming Election Needed If Boris Johnson Quits

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Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg is a key ally of the prime minister (Photo: Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg is a key ally of the prime minister (Photo: Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been criticised by Tory colleagues after he claimed a general election must take place if Boris Johnson is forced from office.

He said any new leader would “be very well advised seek a fresh mandate” by going to the country.

But one Tory MP said that in a parliamentary democracy, the Commons leader’s remarks were a “constitutional and legal nonsense”.

Rees-Mogg’s comments to the BBC’s Newsnight programme came as Downing Street braces itself to receive Sue Gray’s report into alleged parties in Number 10 during lockdown.

He said: “It is my view that we have moved, for better or worse, to essentially a presidential system and that therefore the mandate is personal rather than entirely party, and that any prime minister would be very well advised to seek a fresh mandate.”

Responding on Twitter, Sir Bob Neill, the Conservative MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, said: “Whatever one’s views on the PM, it has to be said that this proposition is constitutional and legal nonsense., and, ironically, wholly inconsistent with the doctrine of the supremacy of Parliament.”

Meanwhile, Rees-Mogg also tried to downplay the significance of the accusations facing the prime minister, including that he attended a birthday party thrown for him in the Number 10 Cabinet room during lockdown.

He said: “We’re taking about a slice of cake – we have no sense of proportionality … Trying to speculate on bits of gossip and tittle-tattle around the report doesn’t really get us anywhere.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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