Conservative MP: I will quit if Jacob Rees-Mogg becomes Tory leader
A Conservative MP has said she will leave the party if Jacob Rees-Mogg becomes leader.
Heidi Allen said that, while the backbencher was “fabulous”, he was not the “modern face of the Tory party”.
Mr Rees-Mogg has been downplaying the prospects of him standing for leader in recent days, though he has stopped short of ruling it out altogether.
He is currently the second favourite to succeed Theresa May behind Brexit Secretary David Davis.
But when the possibility was put to Ms Allen on Radio 4’s Westminster Hour, it was met by a cool reaction.
“This is going to sound very dramatic because I don’t believe this will happen so I’m hoping this is completely hypothetical – I couldn’t be in the Conservative party if he was my leader,” she said.
“That’s nothing nasty or to slight Jacob at all, he’s incredible charming, very generous, has been very welcoming to me as a new MP, we often sit quite close together…
“He is not the modern face of the Tory party that we are desperate – or I am certainly and colleagues are desperate – to prove is out there. Eighteenth century, he’s a moderniser if he’s the minister for the 18th century!
“He’s fabulous in his own right but he is not the future and I am desperate for us to find that future.”
In an article for the Telegraph today, Mr Rees-Mogg protested that he did not “covet” the leadership.
The North East Somerset MP added: “If I did I would be a fool for only in Opposition do political parties choose leaders who have never held high ministerial office… I neither am a candidate, nor wish to be one. I want to be the servant of the Conservative Party, not its master.”
But he did take the chance to set out ideas about the direction of the party after an election campaign that he branded “too managerial and [that] lacked inspiration”.
Among his ideas were cuts to stamp duty and income tax, pulling down tower blocks, and an end to the “worst sort of political grandstanding” that characterises current government-led efforts to cut carbon emissions.
Ms Allen becomes the second Conservative MP in as many days to tout the possibility of defecting after former minister Anna Soubry said it was “not impossible” that she would join a newly-formed centrist if the Government pushed through a so-called “hard Brexit”.
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