Rees-Mogg Warns of Parliamentary ‘Stitch-up’ in Appointing New PM

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 15: Jacob Rees-Mogg speaks to the media after submitting a letter of no confidence in Prime Minister Teresa May, outside the Palace of Westminster on November 15, 2018 in London, England. Cabinet Ministers Dominic Raab, the Brexit Secretary, and Esther McVey, Work and Pensions Secretary resigned …
Dan Kitwood/Getty

Leading Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned of a parliamentary “stitch-up” in the election process of the next leader of the kind that resulted in Theresa May, a Remainer, becoming prime minister of Brexit Britain.

Speaking to Sky News shortly after Mrs May announced her resignation, the chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) said that the some 150,000 Conservative Party members must make the final decision of who is to lead the country.

Mr Rees-Mogg said: “There will be the Parliamentary stage but it must go to members of the Conservative Party this time.

“It can’t be a stitch up of Parliamentarians. It needs that broader mandate. So, a few weeks – six weeks, say.”

Mrs May announced Friday morning that she would be officially stepping down as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on June 7th, with nominations taking place the following week.

Every candidate must be nominated and seconded by his fellow MPs. After the nominations close, all Conservative Members of Parliament will vote from the list of nominations in a series of ballots, with the candidate with the fewest votes being eliminated at every round, until just two candidates remain. Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) believes this process will be concluded by the end of June.

The two candidates will then campaign and hold hustings across the country, with a final vote by registered Conservative Party members (as the Conservatives hold the government of the day) expected to occur in mid-July before the House rises. The next party leader will then be elected, and as the Conservatives hold the power in the current parliament, that person will also become prime minister.

It was at the latter end of this process that the system fell apart nearly three years ago. A leadership election was triggered when former Prime Minister David Cameron resigned the day after he lost his campaign to keep the UK in the EU in the June 2016 referendum.

Five Tory MPs stood for the top job of party leader: leavers Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom, and Liam Fox; and remainers Theresa May and Stephen Crabb. Likely frontrunner Boris Johnson announced he would not be running after Gove declared his candidature.

After a number of voting rounds, Fox and Gove were knocked out and Crabb resigned, leaving May and Leadsom as the two candidates to appear on party members’ ballots.

However, Mrs Leadsom pulled out leaving Mrs May the last man standing, automatically resulting in her becoming party leader and prime minister, cutting party members out of the decision process entirely.

The Tory membership is, however, in the majority Brexit-supporting with the last poll on the subject in January finding party members backed leaving with no deal over May’s deal over two to one.

Mr Rees-Mogg later warned of the consequences of failing to deliver on the Brexit vote, telling Sky News: “The voters want what they have voted for to happen and to be delivered, and are making their intention very clear. The politics that we have enjoyed looks as if it will not carry on, if the politicians don’t manage to deliver on Brexit.”


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.