Tory party members want Rees-Mogg to succeed Theresa May
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the outspoken and eccentric backbencher, is the grassroots favourite to succeed Theresa May as Tory leader, according to a new survey.
The MP for North East Somerset topped a poll by Conservative Home ahead of David Davis and Boris Johnson.
Rees-Mogg secured 23 per cent of the vote, while the Brexit Secretary came in second place with 15 per cent, and the Foreign Secretary followed with 7 per cent.
While 19 per cent ticked the ‘other’ box, the poll of 1,309 Conservative members demonstrates the continuing support for pro-Brexit politicians in the party.
Thank you for all the generous comments on Sixtus' baptism, here is the full team.
A post shared by Jacob Rees-Mogg (@jacob_rees_mogg) on Aug 14, 2017 at 2:42am PDT
Earlier in the year, Rees-Mogg, who has become an unlikely hit on social media, came second in the same poll (after Davis).
At the time, he played down the significance — but did not rule himself out of a future bid for leadership.
“I wouldn’t put any money on it,” he told Radio 4’s Broadcasting House.
“I think it’s a reminder that it’s August. People don’t have a huge amount of pressing UK political news to write about, and therefore there’s this jolly stuff about me.”
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, he said: “I think if I threw my hat in the ring, my hat would be thrown back at me pretty quickly.”
“I said it is unrealistic for me to go from the backbenches to being leader.
“I am not a cabinet minister so it is hard to see how I could be a candidate. It is improbable bordering on impossible.”
Yesterday, it was reported that Theresa May is set to offer a ministerial position to Rees-Mogg.
The Prime Minister is seeking to tighten her grip on power, despite being labelled ‘deluded’ after vowing to lead the Tories into next election.
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A source said she is “bringing him in” to a role that would make him “do a bit of grind” in office.
“People have to earn their spurs,” a Downing Street source said in reference to Rees-Mogg’s suitability for the top job.
Most bookmakers have Rees-Mogg as second favourite, behind Davis, to become the next Conservative leader.
Despite his background and education, Rees-Mogg is seen by some Conservatives as a politician who can connect with the average voter, in a similar manner to Boris Johnson.
However, others consider his views to be outdated and controversial. He opposes same-sex marriage, saying that he is “not proud” of it being legal.
He was also an early supporter of Donald Trump‘s presidential bid, but later distanced himself from the controversial republican.
In 2013, he addressed the Traditional Britain Group’s annual dinner – a far-right group which wants to “repatriate” black Britons — despite warnings from Searchlight, an anti-fascist magazine, about the group’s views.
He later apologised, saying he “clearly made a mistake”.