You know it’s bad when Rees-Mogg does the media round. Ever since his disastrous interview on Grenfell in the 2019 election, Tory party managers have been keen to keep the Old Etonian’s performances on national television to a minimum. But given both the dire straits in which Boris now finds himself and the half-hearted backing of his cabinet, it was cometh the hour, cometh the Mogg. And the leader of the Commons certainly brought the House down.
First Mogg went on LBC to dismiss those calling for Johnson to quit, claiming ‘The people who have come out so far are people like Roger Gale and Douglas Ross who never supported the Prime Minister. Mainly they didn’t support him over Brexit — it’s been a key dividing line — and you wouldn’t expect them to support him now.’ This conveniently ignores both those critics like Will Wragg, a staunch Brexiteer who campaigned for Leave, and the fact that every single Tory MP, including Gale and Ross, voted for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) January 12, 2022
“Douglas Ross has always been quite a lightweight figure”Jacob Rees-Mogg MP says the Secretary of State for Scotland “is a much more substantial and important figure in this”#Newsnight https://t.co/1eE9taAED5 pic.twitter.com/9aala8jM1s
Then Mogg went on Newsnight to ridicule Ross, claiming the leader of his Scottish colleagues ‘isn’t a very significant figure.’ Coming at a time when the Union is on a knife edge, his comments couldn’t have been less helpful in suggesting Westminster doesn’t take Scotland seriously. You would have thought Rees-Mogg might choose his words more carefully, given the hay which the SNP made of Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont’s claim that she was treated like a ‘branch office’. Ross, after all, led his party just eight months ago to its best set of election results in Holyrood history.
Gleeful Nats have duly spent the night ripping Ross, Rees-Mogg and their colleagues to shreds while incandescent Tories north of the border have been in touch with Mr S to express their fury. Cabinet ministers might be able to brush off the fact that every single one of the 31 MSPs at Edinburgh now want Boris to quit. But Ross also leads eight MPs in Westminster — all of whom can submit letters of confidence in the under-fire Prime Minister and self-appointed 'Minister for the Union.'
Not perhaps the best time for Rees-Mogg to dismiss him in such a condescending style.