Rees-Mogg tops leader poll, but his politics are deeply regressive – even for the Tories

Some of his most vocal supporters are the 'Tory youth movement', Activate, who were outed as discussing 'gassing chavs' and 'shooting peasants' last week.

Jacob Rees Mogg tops a new Conservative Home poll on who should be the next leader of the party. That’s unlikely to happen, but any rise in his public profile should be challenged.

Although few are saying Rees Mogg could actually be elected Tory leader, his increasing popularity in the grass roots of the party is apparent. Rumours were circulating over the weekend that he was being lined up for a ministerial position in a cabinet reshuffle.

And yesterday ‘Activate UK’, the Tories’ embarrassing equivalent to Momentum, announced their support for Rees Mogg for leader, saying the party needs a “fresh direction”.

No one is taking Activate very seriously as a political force, but some of their members were outed as holding very ugly views last week: ‘gassing chavs’ and ‘shooting peasants’ were just two humorous topics of conversation in one group chat.

The fact that the same people would gravitate behind Rees Mogg is perhaps unsurprising when you look at his record in politics. Here’s what he’s been up to in Parliament since he was elected in 2010.

  1. He voted consistently against same-sex marriage in 2013 and 2014 and said he was ‘not proud’ of the gay marriage law: ‘it alienated a lot of our traditional supporters’.
  2. He’s pro-Brexit and consistently votes against the right of EU nationals to remain in the UK.
  3. He’s voted again and again in favour of reducing spending on benefits, and against increasing benefits to disabled people.
  4. He filibustered a bill to scrap the bedroom tax. He also talked out a bill to introduce Teach First aid in schools. And one on sustainable farming.
  5. He voted against reform of the House of Lords.
  6. He called for the Conservatives to collaborate with UKIP, who he called the party’s ‘natural allies’.
  7. He voiced support for Donald Trump, saying last year he’d “almost certainly” vote Republican if he were an American.

God help us if ‘Moggmentum’ does have any traction behind it.

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