Jacob rees-mogg

Think pink: there’s no shame in quaffing rosé in England

In the battle of ideas, it is sometimes necessary to make a tactical withdrawal. That is now the case over climate change. This should not be confused with a full retreat. But in the circumstances, those who insist on the need for lifestyle changes have a point, at least when it comes to wine. Some time ago, I propounded a dictum. Rosé should only be drunk south of Lyon. One could start quite early – 10.30 perhaps, opening the first bottle while brushing away the final crumbs of croissant. Apart from a very few serious wines, it would not matter if the stuff were cooled to ice-lolly temperature. But in

Whitehall exodus follows Rees-Mogg’s decree

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s war on Whitehall continues apace. The Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency has embraced his new role with relish, firing off notes to officials refusing to return to the office and launching his new ‘EU law dashboard’. But it’s his intention to trim the size of the state which has caused most upset among the Sir Humphreys of SW1, with Rees-Mogg pledging to cut the civil service headcount back to where it was before the pandemic. That would mean 91,000 job cuts: a figure that was briefed to the Daily Mail, which splashed on the story on Friday 13 May. This announcement, via the media, angered many

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s efficiency crusade

Ah, Jacob Rees-Mogg. The Old Etonian sometimes appears to have been designed by top lab scientists at CCHQ to perfectly antagonise the Sir Humphreys of SW1. Since his appointment as the Minister for Government Efficiency in February, every announcement by the Somerset MP seems calculated to enrage the civil service trade unions, keen to retain Covid-era hybrid working practices. For the Moggstar has been on a one-man war around Whitehall, rampaging around the Cabinet Office, decrying those mandarins who stubbornly refuse to abandon working from home. As part of this crusade to get back to the offices, Rees-Mogg last month toured his department and left calling cards on the empty desks of absent

Boris’s plan to divide and conquer

Boris Johnson has never quite been able to decide whether he wants to be a great unifier or a great divider. Does he want to govern like he did at City Hall – the ‘generous-hearted, loving mayor of London’, as he once described himself – or is his best chance for re-election a return to the Brexit-style wars that landed him in Downing Street? These days, there are plenty of signs that the government is in fight mode. The Prime Minister is risking a trade war with Brussels with threats to unilaterally rewrite the Northern Ireland Protocol, going to battle with civil servants over home-working and planning to deport asylum

All talk and no trousers: is Oxford really to blame for Brexit?

Attacks on British elitism usually talk about Oxbridge, but Simon Kuper argues that it is specifically Oxford that is the problem, which has provided 11 (out of 15) prime ministers since the war. So what’s the explanation? Kuper thinks it’s all the fault of the Oxford Union, which fosters chaps who are clever at debating without particularly caring which side they are on. As a result, they acquire enough rhetorical skills to enable them to beat opponents who rely on thoughtful, fact-based arguments. Such arguments are ‘boring’, and being boring in the Oxford Union is the worst crime you can commit. This wouldn’t matter if it were confined to undergraduates

Can Mogg tackle the spiralling spad bill?

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been out and about making the most of his new role. Appointed minister for government efficiency in last month’s reshuffle, the Somerset MP was quick to announce his plans for the brief: a cut of least 65,000 civil servants to shrink Whitehall to the size it was pre-pandemic. The former leader of the Commons also plans to personally review every new vacant post to see if it should be filled. News of a mandarin crackdown will be welcomed by many in Rees-Mogg’s party, hungry for a diet of red meat after months of Tory drift. But will special advisers be included in the planned bonfire of the

Chatty MPs fuel podcast boom

Whether it’s online, print, radio or broadcast, it seems we can’t get enough of politics these days. And not content with traditional forms of media, an ever-expanding number of MPs are branching out into podcasts to share their thoughts with the wider world. Around half-a-dozen have launched their own shows in recent months, following in the footsteps of perhaps the most high-profile parliamentary podcaster: Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has hosted his fortnightly Moggcast show for ConservativeHome since 2018, often providing news lines which Mr S is only too keen to follow up. The latest ambitious MP to launch such a project is the chisel-jawed Luke Evans, whose career reads like a

Team Boris’s scorched earth strategy

Jacob Rees-Mogg is now arguing that the UK system has become so presidential that a new prime minister would feel obliged to call an election. The message to Tory MPs is clear: depose Boris Johnson and you’ll be going to the country in months — and do you really want to do that given the polls? Rees-Mogg’s argument is being used by the shadow whipping operation too. It has, from what I have been hearing, had some effects on new intake MPs. But among older intakes, there is a bit of a backlash to it.  There is a view that the argument takes them for fools. Yes, Labour and the

Rees-Mogg does his bit for the Union

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

Mogg and The Saj face off on face masks

Tory backbenchers have had an uncomfortable relationship with face masks since they were brought in last year. Spectators in the Commons chamber are greeted by the sight of many more Labour MPs preferring to wear the coverings than their Conservative counterparts, with some of the latter relishing the divide as the fundamental difference between their two parties. But that reluctance for masks gave Sajid Javid an awkward moment at yesterday’s No. 10 press conference. After Sebastian Payne of the Financial Times pointed out to the Health Secretary that Tory MPs not wearing mask risked undermining government messaging and risked leaving them open to charges of hypocrisy, a squirming Javid said: I think

Watch: Jacob Rees-Mogg called ‘scum’ by protesters

Greeted by a throng of angry protesters outside Tory conference, some of the party’s MPs are taking the easy option – and choosing to walk a different way. But not Jacob Rees-Mogg.  After leaving the conference centre, Mogg – dressed immaculately, as usual, in his buttoned-up suit – walked straight into the thick of it. He might have regretted his decision.  Mogg was booed loudly and heckled by demonstrators, with one calling him ‘scum’. Here’s the video: Having headed through the crowd of demonstrators, Mogg then turned back and ran the gauntlet again – only this time to be confronted by an angry protester who blamed the Tories for not being

Watch: Rees-Mogg mocks Oxford ‘pimply adolescents’

In recent months Jacob Rees-Mogg has kept a low profile in Westminster. The leader of the House is kept mainly these days to the confines of managing parliamentary business with the mile-long ‘Mogg conga’ queuing system last June being one of the few occasions he has returned to the limelight. So Mr S was delighted to see the Old Etonian demonstrate he has lost none of his wit or wisdom when he came to the Commons today to field questions from backbenchers. A question by Ipswich Tom Hunt MP decrying the ‘wokeification’ of British universities offered Rees-Mogg the chance to offer his thoughts on Churchill college Cambridge potentially rebranding, 150 Oxford academics refusing

Tory manifesto launch: Where’s Jacob Rees-Mogg?

Boris Johnson has launched his party’s manifesto in Telford this afternoon, joined by his Cabinet who were all confidently clapping away in the front row. All of them, that is, except for one Jacob Rees-Mogg. Eagle-eyed viewers will have spotted the conspicuous absence of the Leader of the Commons. Mr Rees-Mogg has been keeping a low profile after committing the first major blunder of the election campaign. During a discussion with LBC’s Nick Ferarri, the MP for North Somerset said that he thought that it would have been ‘the common sense thing to do’ for Grenfell residents to have ignored the fire brigade’s advice and leave the burning building. So

Jacob Rees-Mogg: ‘I am enormously environmentally friendly by driving old Bentleys’

Jacob Rees-Mogg sits at a mahogany table in his office drinking black coffee from a Spode cup. Across from him sit three aides — laptops out and ears pricked. These days, the Moggster comes with an entourage, and their determination to be present sometimes surprises him. ‘I kept on saying to them on Sunday that they didn’t need to come to the thing in the evening but I think they’re worried about me saying the wrong thing!’ They’d have had good reason to worry. Since his election in 2010, Rees-Mogg has been one of the most quotably outspoken Tory MPs: now he is Leader of the House of Commons, his

There’s nothing wrong with Jacob Rees-Mogg lying down in the Commons

If you are a journalist covering politics this year, every moment is a bad moment to take a holiday. I took a short one last week in search of grouse and arrived at Hunthill, the proud Scottish fastness of our host Henry Keswick, to find that Boris Johnson had promised to prorogue parliament. Since the party included a cabinet minister, another Member of Parliament etc, it all felt a bit like a John Buchan novel. As I watched the beaters approach us across the moor, I imagined it as the sort of scene Buchan describes so well in which the appearance of seemingly innocent sport on the hill is in

What would George Orwell make of Brexit?

In the London Review of Books this month, James Meek wrote a long article about Jacob Rees-Mogg and his ‘curious duality’ in being both a high Catholic, fogey Brexiteer and a founder of Somerset Capital Management, which the author sees as globalist and ruthless. The piece is elegantly done, but entirely sneery. It makes not the slightest attempt to enter into the Mogg’s (or any Brexiteer’s) mind with any sympathy. I was thinking about this because the LRB’s publicity emphasised that Meek is an Orwell Prize winner. How we need an Orwell on the subject of Brexit. Although he came from a declaredly socialist view, he understood what it is — to use

The royals should embody virtue – not signal it

ONE should not be censorious if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex fly in private jets to their holidays, though one cannot help laughing when they combine this with exhortations to save the planet. There is, sadly, no royal yacht nowadays (a new one would be a good make-work scheme post-Brexit), and we are not a civilised enough country to leave them and their baby alone if they were to travel on public transport. But they are making two mistakes. The first is to go somewhere hot, sunny and celebrity-filled for their break. One of the secrets of the Queen’s popularity is that she has almost never been seen sunbathing with

Jacob Rees-Mogg and the mystery of the conference recess

“What is going on with the conference recess?” asked Valerie Vaz during Jacob Rees-Mogg’s first outing for Business Questions as Leader of the House. She sounded exasperated, and who can blame her? After all, it was the sixth week in a row she asked the question. And it was the sixth week that she was fobbed off. So what is going on? Normally conference recess dates are bundled together with the dates of other recesses and tabled earlier in the parliamentary session. In 2018, the recesses for the forthcoming summer, conference, November and Christmas were approved on March 20th. In 2017, summer and conference went together on June 22nd (after


‘I’m a learned doctor,’ cried my husband, pulling at the hems of his tweed coat and doing a little jig. He’d heard that Jacob Rees-Mogg had directed his office to use Esq of all non-titled males. There’s something of the Charles Pooter about Esquire. Its last redoubt had been envelopes from the Inland Revenue. Since it became HM Revenue & Customs, honorifics have melted away. Americans use Esquire principally of attorneys, who do creep into British notions of those reckoned by courtesy gentlemen, and hence called Esquire. Deploying Esquire is a question of U and non-U language; the higher snobbism currently favours its disuse. But when Shakespeare and his father

European Research Group descends into hugging fiesta as members insist they won’t back May’s deal

Despite a number of MPs announcing that they will back Theresa May’s Brexit now that she has said she will leave within weeks of it passing, senior members of the European Research Group have come out fighting this evening to insist the deal still doesn’t have the votes. Steve Baker received what one source described as an ‘enormous standing ovation’. The source said: ‘His voice was cracking with emotion, so much so that at the end he was hugged by Jacob [Rees-Mogg] and others at the top table. We are not a hugging group.’ Baker’s speech included the following lines: ‘What is our liberty for if not to govern ourselves?’