Tory minister helps to push Jacob Rees Mogg leadership bid
Jesse Norman is the first Tory MP to open the door to a Rees Mogg premiership.
Conservative activists may have expressed a desire for Jacob Rees Mogg to be their next leader, but what about the all-important Tory MPs who decide on the final two?
While rival leadership candidates David Davis and Boris Johnson have their parliamentary cheerleaders (Ben Wallace for Johnson and Andrew Mitchell for Davis), Rees Mogg still has a vacancy.
And today, the first application for the job came in.
Transport minister Jesse Norman has previously been considered to be in the Johnson camp. But when Norman - who, like Rees-Mogg is an old Etonian - was asked whether another product of exclusive private school could become prime minister in the future, he deflected by hailing his colleague.
In a interview with Centre Write, the magazine of Tory thinktank Bright Blue, he said: "I think Jacob Rees-Mogg would be an outstanding candidate," he replied. "I can only admire the Moggmentum that’s already underway."
A poll of Tory activists for the ConservativeHome website last week found Rees Mogg in second place as their preferred next party leader, just behind Brexit secretary David Davis. This was despite the fact that Rees-Mogg was not included in the survey. Rather his supporters had to enter his name themselves in the "other – please specify" category.
Other MPs have either kept quiet about the prospect of Rees Mogg being Tory leader - or expressed horror.
Backbencher Heidi Allen told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour: "I couldn’t be in the Conservative party if he was my leader.”