Jacob Rees Mogg talks tough... as Tory members look elsewhere for next leader
Conservative party activists now appear to be leaning towards Sajid Javid.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned Theresa May that she must deliver on her Brexit promises or face a rebellion from within her own party.
In an article for The Telegraph, Rees Mogg writes that the prime minister must stick to her ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ mantra - or risk splitting the Conservative Party like Sir Robert Peel, who defied his own party over the Corn Laws.
He notes menacingly: “This left the Conservatives out of majority office for twenty-eight years, 1846 to 1874. At least he did so for a policy that worked.”
But why is he speaking out now?
Much of the coverage of the Rees Mogg article places it in the context of the cabinet preparing for a Brexit showdown at Chequers on Friday. In his Red Box memo, the Times’ Matt Chorley notes that “the piece follows the usual pattern of Rees-Mogg firing off warnings to May before big Brexit moments, though she has a habit of not taking much notice".
But the latest pro-Brexit posturing might also be related to the fact that the nascent Rees Mogg leadership campaign had some bad news this weekend - with a ConservativeHome poll finding that he has plunged to fourth choice of members to be next Tory leader.
For the first time, the top spot has been taken by Sajid Javid.
“It is an astounding turnaround. Three months ago, Javid was languishing on a paltry two per cent. His ratings were so consistently poor that we contemplated removing him from the poll altogether,” states ConHome editor Paul Goodman.
Of course, Rees Mogg’s hardcore supporters are having none of it, with the Daily Express reporting that a pro-Brexit Tory MP plus a former Ukip member have raised more than £750,000 for a ‘Rees Mogg for leader’ campaign.