Jacob Rees-Mogg

The Honourable
Jacob Rees-Mogg

Rees-Mogg in 2013
Member of Parliament
for North East Somerset
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by New constituency
Majority 12,749 (24.9%)
Personal details
Born (1969-05-24) 24 May 1969
Hammersmith, London, England[1]
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Helena de Chair
Relations William, Lord Rees-Mogg (father)
Children 5[2]
Residence West Harptree, Somerset[3]
Education Eton College
Alma mater Trinity College, Oxford
Occupation Politician
Profession Fund manager
Religion Roman Catholic

Jacob William Rees-Mogg (born 24 May 1969) is a British Conservative Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for North East Somerset since the 2010 general election. Rees-Mogg is on the Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party.[4]

Early life and education

Rees-Mogg is the son of the late William Rees-Mogg, a former editor of The Times and life peer, and his wife Gillian Shakespeare Morris.[5] He has three sisters and a brother.[5] One of his sisters, Annunziata, is a journalist and fellow Conservative politician. A member of an established Somerset family of coal mine owners,[6] Rees-Mogg was born in Hammersmith, London, and grew up in Ston Easton, Somerset.

Rees-Mogg was educated at Eton College and subsequently read history at Trinity College, Oxford. He became president of the Oxford University Conservative Association and was a member and frequent debater at the Oxford Union, where he was elected Librarian (the Union's second-highest position), but later failed in his bid for the presidency.[7]

Professional career

Rees-Mogg worked in the City of London in the Global Emerging Markets division of Lloyd George Management[8] before setting up his own company, Somerset Capital Management, in 2007.[9]

Political career

Before entering Parliament

At the 1997 general election, Rees-Mogg was the Tory candidate for the solidly Labour seat of Central Fife and attracted ridicule after canvassing a largely working class neighbourhood with his nanny;[7] on election night he came third, gaining 9% of the votes cast,[10] slightly fewer than half of the votes won by the previous Conservative candidate in 1992. However, rumours that he had toured the constituency in a Bentley were described as "scurrilous" − he insisted it had been a Mercedes.[11]

In 1999, when it was being rumoured that his "anachronistically posh" received pronunciation accent was working against his chances of being selected for a safe Tory seat, Rees-Mogg was defended by letter writers to The Daily Telegraph, one of whom claimed that "an overt form of intimidation exists, directed against anyone who dares to eschew the current, Americanised, mode of behaviour, speech and dress".[12] Rees-Mogg himself stated (in The Sunday Times, 23 May 1999) that "it is rather pathetic to fuss about accents too much", though he then went on to say that "John Prescott's accent certainly stereotypes him as an oaf".[13] He later said "I gradually realised that whatever I happened to be speaking about, the number of voters in my favour dropped as soon as I opened my mouth."[6]

Rees-Mogg stood for the Wrekin in Shropshire in 2001, losing to the Labour MP Peter Bradley[14] who achieved a 0.95% swing to Labour against the national trend of a 3.5% swing to the Conservatives. Between 2005 and 2008 Rees-Mogg was the elected Chairman of the Cities of London and Westminster Conservative Association.[15]

He was one of the directors of the Roman Catholic Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in London who were ordered to resign by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor in February 2008 after protracted arguments over the adoption of a tighter ethical code banning non-Catholic practices such as abortions and gender reassignment surgery at the hospital.[16]

In March 2009, Rees-Mogg was forced to apologise to Trevor Kavanagh, then political editor of The Sun, after it was shown that a newsletter signed by Rees-Mogg had plagiarised sections of a Kavanagh article that had appeared in the newspaper over a month earlier.[17]

In December, a pamphlet which purported to show him talking to a local constituent and calling on the government to "show more honesty" was criticised after it emerged that the "constituent" was a London-based employee of his investment firm.[18]

He was described by Camilla Long in a Sunday Times profile as "David Cameron’s worst nightmare" during the 2010 general election campaign.[19] At that election Rees-Mogg became the member of parliament for the new North East Somerset constituency with a majority of 4,914.[20] His sister, the journalist Annunziata Rees-Mogg, stood simultaneously in the neighbouring Somerton and Frome, but failed to win her seat by 1,817 votes.[7][21] The Guardian had previously criticised the damage done to the Tory message of social inclusion by the selection of two highly privileged candidates.[6]

In Parliament

Rees-Mogg in 2007

In the House of Commons, Rees-Mogg has gained a reputation for his humorous speeches and ability to filibuster.[22]

The ConservativeHome blog rates Rees-Mogg as one of the Conservatives' most rebellious MPs.[23] He has voted against the government whip on the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill, the October 2011 European Union Referendum Motion and the House of Lords Reform Bill 2012.[24]

He also helped filibuster the Daylight Saving Bill 2010–12 and the Sustainable Livestock Bill 2010–12, thus preventing their passage through Parliament. In his long speech on the Sustainable Livestock Bill, he recited poetry; spoke of the superior quality of Somerset eggs, and mentioned the fictional pig, the Empress of Blandings, who won silver at the Shropshire County Show three years in a row, before moving on to talk about the sewerage system and the Battle of Agincourt.[22][25][26][27] He also attempted to amend the Daylight Saving Bill to give the county of Somerset its own time zone, 15 minutes behind London.[28]

Rees-Mogg debating at the Cambridge Union Society

In a debate on London Local Authorities Bill on 7 December 2011, he said that council officials who have the power to issue on-the-spot fines should be forced to wear bowler hats.[29][30]

In February 2012 Rees-Mogg made the record books with the use of floccinaucinihilipilification—an Eton college neologism meaning "the habit of considering as worthless"—in the House of Commons which became the longest word in Hansard.[31] Rees-Mogg is comically known by parliamentary sketch writers as "the honourable member for the early 20th century".[32][33]

In January 2014, he dismissed the sum of £250,000 spent on MPs portraits as "chickenfeed".[34]

Political views

Rees-Mogg is a supporter of zero-hour contracts arguing that they do benefit employees including students by providing flexibility and could provide a route into more permanent employment.[35] He rejected criticism by Vince Cable and others that they were exploitative as "the standard response of the Left".[35]

Writing in The Daily Telegraph in May 2013, Rees-Mogg asked whether it was time to make a "big open and comprehensive offer" to UKIP. He said collaboration would be straightforward as policies were similar on "many issues" and most Conservatives would prefer Nigel Farage to Nick Clegg as deputy PM.[36] His remarks angered his party leadership whilst UKIP said it was against any formal arrangements.[37] Paul Goodman, editor of the political blog ConservativeHome, said he believed a short-term pact was both impractical and undesirable.[37]

Rees-Mogg is a monarchist[38] and regarding global warming he thinks solutions that do not hinder technological progress should be sought.[39]

Rees-Mogg also opposes marriage for same-sex couples, saying that he is "not proud" of it being legal and that it will alienate "traditional supporters" of his party.[40][41] Rees-Mogg's reasoning for this is that gay marriage does not align with the Roman Catholic faith, saying "It's purely a religious matter. It's a question of what is a sacrament."[42]

Other news stories

On 17 May 2013, Rees-Mogg addressed the Traditional Britain Group annual dinner.[43] He was warned in the days before the dinner by Searchlight, the anti-fascist magazine, that the Traditional Britain Group promoted extreme right-wing policies regarding immigration.[44]

In early August he declared that he was "shocked" that the Traditional Britain Group publicly attacked Labour's nomination of Doreen Lawrence as a life peer; the group said she "was without merit", and called for the Conservative Party's 1970 general election manifesto pledge to encourage state-assisted voluntary repatriation for immigrants, including Lawrence, to return to their "natural homelands", to be resurrected. Rees-Mogg, who was pictured sitting next to Conservative Democratic Alliance member Gregory Lauder-Frost, former committee member of the Monday Club, claimed that the dinner organisers had dismissed comments that they were racist as a smear, whilst Conservative Central Office "had no knowledge of them".[45][46][47]

Declaration of interests

In December 2014 Rees-Mogg was reported to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority for speaking in debates on tobacco, mining and oil and gas without first verbally declaring he is founding partner and director of Somerset Capital which has multimillion-pound investments in the sectors.[48] However, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Hudson, decided that no wrongdoing had been committed and so no investigation would take place.[49]

According to The Daily Telegraph, Rees-Mogg's extra-parliamentary work took up 476 hours or 9 hours per week in 2014.[50]

Personal life

In January 2007 Rees-Mogg married Helena de Chair, a writer on a trade magazine for the oil industry. She is the daughter of Somerset de Chair and his fourth wife Lady Juliet Tadgell, the only child of the eighth Earl Fitzwilliam. The couple have four sons and a daughter.[51] Rees-Mogg's nephew is the athlete Lawrence Clarke.[52]

Rees-Mogg, a Roman Catholic, and de Chair, an Anglican, were married in an ecumenical marriage ceremony in Canterbury Cathedral. Part of the service included a Roman Catholic Tridentine Mass (Latin rite) conducted by Dom Aidan Bellenger, the Abbot of Downside Abbey.[53] Rees-Mogg likes to attend the Tridentine Mass when available: "We're very lucky if we get it in Somerset once a month. The more you go the more you will find that it is a good thing to go to. You get some time to think and it's not all noisy – and there's no risk of guitars. I think Mass can be too noisy and guitars should be banned."[54]

Electoral history

General Election 2015: North East Somerset[55]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg 25,439 49.8 +8.5
Labour Todd Foreman 12,690 24.8 -6.8
UKIP Ernest Blaber 6,150 12.0 +8.6
Liberal Democrat Wera Hobhouse 4,029 7.9 -14.4
Green Katy Boyce[56] 2,802 5.5 +4.2
Majority 12,749 24.9
Turnout 51,110 73.7
Conservative hold Swing +7.65
General Election 2010: North East Somerset[20]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg 21,130 41.3 +2.2
Labour Dan Norris 16,216 31.7 -7.0
Liberal Democrat Gail Coleshill 11,433 22.3 +2.7
UKIP Peter Sandell 1,754 3.4 +1.2
Green Michael Jay 670 1.3 +1.3
Majority 4,914 9.6
Turnout 51,203 76.0 +4.5
Conservative hold Swing +4.6
General Election 2001: The Wrekin
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Peter Bradley 19,532 47.1 +0.1
Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg 15,945 38.4 -1.8
Liberal Democrat Ian Jenkins 4,738 11.4 -1.4
UKIP Denis Brookes 1,275 3.1 N/A
Majority 3,587 8.7
Turnout 41,490 63.1 -12.1
Labour hold Swing +0.95
General Election 1997: Central Fife
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Henry McLeish 23,912 58.7 +8.3
SNP Tricia Marwick 10,199 25.0 -0.1
Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg 3,669 9.0 -8.6
Liberal Democrat Ross Laird 2,610 6.4 -0.5
Referendum John Scrymgeour-Wedderburn 375 0.9 N/A
Majority 13,713 33.6 +8.3
Turnout 40,765
Labour hold Swing


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  33. Westminster Hour. 12 May 2013. BBC Radio 4.
  34. Edgar, James (14 January 2014). "MP dismisses £250,000 taxpayer bill for politicians's portraits as 'chicken feed'". Telegraph. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
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External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New constituency
Member of Parliament for North East Somerset
Succeeded by
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