Tory members back Jacob Rees Mogg for leader… because there’s nobody else
The North East Somerset MP has knocked David Davis off his perch.
Jacob Rees-Mogg is now the favourite among grassroots Tories to replace Theresa May, with 23% of members giving him the thumbs up.
But only because the other candidates are so unimpressive, it seems.
“In the absence of anyone that party members find convincing, Rees-Mogg is a gainer from what is essentially a protest vote,” said ConservativeHome editor Paul Goodman.
Rees-Mogg has overtaken Brexit Secretary David Davis, who was backed by 15% of voters in the latest survey by ConservativeHome. However, 19% ticked the "other" box.
In the same survey, one-time Tory grassroots favourite Boris Johnson is down to 7.5% - just below justice minister Dominic Raab.
The latest show of support for Rees Mogg comes despite moderate Tories sounding the alarm.
Conservative MP Heidi Allen recently said Rees Mogg was "not the modern face of the Tory party that we are desperate… to prove is out there" and declared that she would leave the party if Rees Mogg became leader.
Former Tory MP-turned Times commentator Matthew Parris recently described Rees-Mogg as "quite simply an unfailing, unbending, unrelenting reactionary".
He added: "His record on every moral, social, sexual or reproductive issue I’ve looked at is brute moral conservative. He has been a straight-down-the-line supporter of every welfare cut I’ve checked. Examining his stances and his reasoning one sees the intellectual nimbleness of a top QC and the opinions of a Colonel Blimp."
Have Allen and Parris got it wrong? Could Rees Mogg be a right wing antidote to Jeremy Corbyn who leads the Tories to a stunning general victory? The editor of ConservativeHome thinks not.
"For all his intelligence, wit and fearlessness, this site suspects that Rees-Mogg as leader would be unable to overleap the legend of the nanny and the poshness and the supposed out-of-touchness, and cut through in the marginal seats, especially in the Midlands and the North, that the Tories need to win their first full majority since 1987,” said Goodman.
"He would be defined by an always cynical and sometimes feral media before he could define himself."
Picture by Press Association.