Rees-Mogg has downplayed the rumours of a leadership challenge. But recent history teaches us to never say neverby Asa Bennett / August 14, 2017 / Leave a comment
Next month, the Conservatives will be gathering for their first party conference since the election. Many would have thought earlier this year that it would be an occasion for unalloyed triumph, with scores of new MPs joining their midst, but Theresa May’s snap election gamble spectacularly misfired. Instead, the Prime Minister will have to try and project a sense of direction while her colleagues make their auditions to succeed her.
Some have not had to wait to get to Manchester in order to be speculated about as potential leadership material. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the backbencher famed for his genteel manner and pin-sharp Savile Row suits, has reportedly been “sounding out” friends about whether he should prepare to throw his hat into the ring.
Given the opportunity to rubbish the idea that he was considering such a thing, he didn’t deny it, but merely suggested he wouldn’t win. “If I threw my hat in the ring, my hat would be thrown back at me pretty quickly,” he told the Sunday Times. “It is improbable bordering on impossible,” he told the Mail on Sunday. He has revelled in the spotlight, describing the speculation as “flattering,” but insisted that he did not “take it seriously.”
Rees-Mogg sounded more explicit in today’s Telegraph, claiming his desire was to be “servant of the Conservative Party, not its master”—but then went on to set out at length his “principled foundation” on which he believed the next Conservative manifesto should be based. This “Moggifesto”, as his fans will be swift to dub it, is a clear sign that he is prepared to think big about…