Jacob Rees-Mogg admits reclining on Commons frontbench was 'a mistake'

Posted On: 
19th September 2019

Jacob Rees-Mogg has admitted it was a "mistake" to recline on the frontbench of the House of Commons during a major clash over Brexit.

The Commons Leader said his bid to get comfy had not been worth "distracting from the importance of what was going on".

The Leader of the House of Commons sparked an angry backlash earlier this month as he lay back on the green benches while MPs debated the Government's plans to leave the European Union.

But, asked on Wednesday night if his behaviour was acceptable, Mr Rees-Mogg told an event organised by The Telegraph: "In hindsight I think not."

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While the Cabinet minister said he had been "restoring an ancient tradition" of ministers resting their feet during debates, he added: "I do accept it was a mistake."

And Mr Rees-Mogg said his bid to get comfortable had not been  worth "distracting from the importance of what was going on".

The Commons Leader was accused by Green MP Caroline Lucas of being "contemptuous of this house and of the people" over the move, while Labour's Anna Turley branded him the "physical embodiment of arrogance, entitlement, disrespect and contempt for our parliament".

His comments on the row came as he heaped praise on Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and urged Tory voters who had abandoned the party to return to the fold.

He told the Telegraph event that Eurosceptics owed the former Ukip chief "a great debt", and said both Conservatives and Brexit Party voters "want the same thing".

"I respect Nigel Farage," Mr Rees-Mogg said. "He is a very distinguished political figure and important to what has happened in this country.”

But the Commons Leader, whose sister Annunziata is a Brexit Party MEP, said: "I want my sister to come back to the Conservative Party."