Time for Rees-Mogg?

He's been lurking in the background for some time, should he step forward?


Jacob Rees-Mogg: Hero or villain?

Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg has broken through from the relative obscurity of the backbenches and is rarely off the TV, often trending on social media and is a hit with the Tory grassroots.

But what do the public make of a man who is spoken of as future party leader? Emma Vardy took took the unscientific barometer of public opinion - the Daily Politics moodbox - to see what voters in Boris Johnson's west London seat think of him.

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Is it time for Jacob Rees-Mogg to make his mark on politics?

By Joe Harker

Cometh the hour, cometh the Mogg. Satisfaction with Prime Minister Theresa May is low but the vultures have been circling for so long that nobody is quite sure whether or not she's going or not. At this point the pressure on the PM is almost constant and she seems stuck in her role until the Tories can be sure that her departure won't also bring down their government too. With the Prime Minister not quite gone yet the circling vultures have plenty of time to argue over who gets to be first in line, with a number of Brexit supporting candidates all aiming to take the top job.

While most would expect Boris Johnson to claim it, the surprising and enduring popularity of Jacob Rees-Mogg means he cannot be counted out. Rees-Mogg is second favourite behind Johnson to become Prime Minister according to a poll that says 51 per cent of Tory voters are unhappy with May's leadership.

The possibility of a vote of no confidence looms over the Prime Minister, but perhaps the biggest point in her favour is lack of public support for any one of her replacements. Johnson tops the poll with just 13 per cent of the vote and Rees-Mogg's seven per cent puts him in second place. When asked "which of the following Conservative politicians would make the best UK Prime Minister" the actual winner was "none of the above" with 57 per cent of the vote. Rees-Mogg may seem popular by comparison with most of his political rivals but the poll would suggest a majority of the public are not impressed by any of the options on offer.

Writing in The Times, Philip Collins warns that supporters of politicians like Rees-Mogg and Johnson will end up disappointing their most ardent supporters. He suggests that these are people who have been ignored by politicians for too long but warns "after pocketing their votes, the Mogg-Johnsons have ignored them". If Boris Johnson or Jacob Rees-Mogg rises to power by harnessing the support of those who have felt ignored then it may just end up with another round of unhappiness with politicians.

Comedian Stewart Lee is no fan of Rees-Mogg, but believes he cannot be subjected to satire as it only makes him stronger. Insults and mockery about his appearance and mannerisms do not wound him, he knows what he is and makes no attempt to change it. It makes him recognisable among a crowd of homogeneous politicians and his supporters seem to love him for it. While some may laugh at the idea of him becoming Prime Minister, Jacob Rees-Mogg will be trying his hardest to have the last laugh.

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