Jacob Rees-Mogg sounds out his Tory leadership ambitions

LEADING ARTICLEAugust 13 2017 12:01am The Sunday Times An unlikely candidate gains Moggmentum The Sunday Times

LEADING ARTICLEAugust 13 2017 12:01am The Sunday Times An unlikely candidate gains Moggmentum The Sunday Times

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the backbench Tory traditionalist, has dismissed reports that he could be the next Conservative party leader as products of the August "silly season".

"I was at a lunch with Jacob very recently and he indicated he would like to be considered for the leadership when the time comes", Professor Malloch, who is close to USA president Donald Trump, told The Mail on Sunday.

The news comes days after the father of six was revealed as the second-most popular choice to become the next Tory leader in a poll of party members by the ConservativeHome website.

"He did not mean now, but at some point in the future".

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The MP for North East Somerset also has the backing of a grassroots movement nicknamed "Moggmentum", with backers seeking to portray him as a right-wing alternative to Jeremy Corbyn.

In on-the-record comments to both papers, Rees-Mogg strongly played down the prospect of becoming party leader - but did not fully rule out standing as a candidate.

Describing him as a "lion", he added: "The Conservative conference should make a bold move for new, fresh and even "cool" leadership". "Jacob is loyal to a fault and would never do anything to destabilise Theresa May", they said. In the event Theresa May steps aside, one friend said: "He is starting to look at some of his more ambitious peers and wonder what they have got that he hasn't". "People don't have a huge amount of pressing United Kingdom political news to write about, and therefore there's this jolly stuff about me". The prospect of Rees-Mogg being prime minister could be seen as an example because he is an MP with no frontbench experience best known to the public generally for playing up to his image as a reactionary fogey. "I am not delusional".

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