You heard it here first. The Field team pegged Jacob Rees-Mogg as 2017’s Rising Star in our annual Word From Westminster awards and his meteoric rise isn’t showing signs of slowing down any time soon. The eccentric MP for Northeast Somerset is currently the bookies’ favourite to be the next leader of the Conservative Party; with his calm, dignity and conviction setting him above the fray amid the chaos of Brexit. There have even been whispers in Westminster this week of a “dream team” alliance being formed between Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove to topple the PM and replace her with the Foreign Secretary if she continues with her plans to keep the UK in the customs union with the EU.
Well we all know that one man’s dream is another man’s nightmare, but whether or not you agree with the Brexiteer and his staunchly traditional right-wing views, there is no denying that in a time of uncertainty, Rees-Mogg comes across as confident in his principles. And sometimes, in a sea of doubt, that’s all people want… Someone with a bit of certitude. With his soaring popularity frequently compared to the early days of grassroots support for Jeremy Corbyn, it becomes harder to ignore the possibility that his authenticity might just be enough to guarantee him a spot in the next leadership contest. Especially when you consider that Andrea Leadsom made it to the final two with the support of just 84 MPs last time round. And right now, it seems as though JRM can’t make a wrong turn.
Earlier this week, there was wide media attention surrounding a story about a group of masked left-wing protestors storming his speaking event at the University of West England. But the people who challenged him might as well have been paid to do so by the Moggmentum campaign. Throughout mainstream and social media, he was depicted as a man unafraid to stand up to bullies as he calmly made his way to the protestors to talk it out, and it was highlighted that Rees-Mogg stressed afterwards that he thought the protest was “perfectly legitimate” and that freedom of speech to oppose him should be upheld. Whether you like it or not…. Mogg-mania seems well and truly upon us.