EXCL Jesse Norman: I was being ironic when I backed Jacob Rees Mogg to be PM
A Conservative minister who had appeared to back Jacob Rees-Mogg as a future Prime Minister has claimed he was being “ironic”.
Jesse Norman told the Centre Write magazine in August that his fellow old Etonian would be an "outstanding candidate" for the job.
He said: "I can only admire the Moggmentum that’s already underway."
But in an interview with The House magazine, Mr Norman insisted he was not being serious.
"I made an ironic comment about Jacob that’s been hopelessly ripped out of context," he said.
The transport minister's comments are a blow for Mr Rees-Mogg, who has been a huge hit among activists at this week's Conservative Party conference.
A survey last month found the eccentric backbencher to be the most popular Conservative figure to take over from Theresa May, although he has repeatedly sought to downplay the possibility.