Sir Jacob stands firm as Conservative despite pressures from rising populism
In a candid interview, the former Leader of the House, Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, vehemently dismissed Reform UK as an “anti-conservative” movement, going further to label it a “party of grumblers.” This sharp rebuke comes in the wake of increasing tensions between traditional Conservatives and Richard Tice’s populist Reform UK, which promises significant policy shifts like reduced corporation tax and an emphasis on “net zero immigration.”
Recent by-elections laid bare the simmering political tussle. The Conservatives lost Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire, where, alarmingly for the Tories, the number of votes amassed by Reform exceeded the new Labour majority. This burgeoning influence of Reform UK has evidently rattled party veterans like Rees-Mogg.
Sir Jacob, responding to a pointed query from a Telegraph Politics newsletter subscriber about why he didn’t switch alliances to Reform, said, “I’m a Conservative, I’m a Tory. I believe in the grain of our constitution, our history. We are a two-party system. Reform is fundamentally anti-conservative, anti-Tory.” In a charged statement, he added that the Reform UK was merely a “distraction” and not of true benefit to the nation.
Richard Tice, the driving force behind Reform UK, responded wittily on X (formerly known as Twitter):
“I like @Jacob_Rees_Mogg too…. He knows @reformparty_uk policies are the common sense ones that he agrees with really…..”
In another part of the interview, Sir Jacob criticised Labour’s tax cut promises for “working people” at a time when taxes are soaring, likening it to Keir Starmer stealing Tory policies. Drawing a historical parallel, he referred to a time when the Tories allegedly “stole” Whigs’ policies, with Sir Jacob claiming that the Conservatives had now been outmanoeuvred by Labour in the same way.
Furthermore, Rees-Mogg asserted a tougher stance on out-of-work benefits claimants, emphasising, “You can’t just live off the state forever.” He insisted on sanctions for those not actively seeking employment and expressed concerns over the prevailing “woke culture” in schools.Source