WATCH Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg opposes abortion 'even after rape'
Traditionalist Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg has been condemned after revealing he is against abortion even in cases where a woman has been raped.
The devout Catholic said he was “completely opposed” to abortion in any circumstances and reaffirmed his opposition to gay marriage.
However, the remarks were met with strong opposition from across the political spectrum, with both Labour and Ukip hitting back against the Tory backbencher's stance.
Outspoken Labour MP Jess Phillips said the choices women make over their own bodies “should have nothing to do with the religious views of our politicians,” while her colleague, Illford South MP Mike Gapes, took to Twitter to say the comments showed: "the nasty party is back with a vengeance".
Ukip politician Suzanne Evans was similarly scathing, telling PoliticsHome: "Anyone who is so unequivocal in forcing a woman to go through an unwanted pregnancy, and all the physical and emotional implications of that, especially in the most horrific of circumstances, demonstrates a lack of humanity. This highlights the danger of personality politics: Rees-Mogg may be 'authentic' and therefore popular, but his views matter, particularly if driven by religious zeal."
Speculation that the North East Somerset MP could become the next prime minister was fuelled yesterday when it emerged he is the favourite among members to take over from Theresa May.
Mr Rees-Mogg has indicated he has no interest in a pitch for the top job – but that has not softened the concerns of those opposed to his more radical views.
Today he told Good Morning Britain: "I am completely opposed to abortion, life begins at the point of conception.
“With same-sex marriage, that is something that people are doing for themselves. With abortion, that is what people are doing to the unborn child."
(Credit: ITV's Good Morning Britain)
Asked whether he would be against abortion in all circumstances including rape, the MP said he was “afraid so,” but added that he didn't think the law should change.
"That law is not going to change. My personal opinion is that life begins at the point of conception and abortion is morally indefensible. I wouldn’t [stop her having an abortion] because that wouldn’t be the law of the land."
Ms Phillips told PoliticsHome she “wholly disagreed” with Mr Rees-Mogg’s view, although she accepted he was entitled to it.
The Birmingham Yardley MP added: “A woman's right to choose what she does with her body should have nothing to do with the religious views of our politicians.
“I’m pleased to say that the public mostly have a more modern view and have elected mostly modern thinking politicians who would come out swinging against any regression in women's rights.”