Jacob Rees-Mogg warned against splitting Tory right as Brexit Opportunities minister ‘considers last-gasp bid’ to replace Boris as PM
- Jacob Rees-Mogg claimed to be considering late entry into Tory leadership race
- Cabinet minister ‘will put himself forward as “continuity Boris” candidate’
- But he is warned to abandon thoughts of a bid amid fears of splitting Tory right
It has been suggested Mr Rees-Mogg will put himself forward as the ‘continuity Boris’ candidate.
But rival campaigns have expressed their fear that his entry into the contest will fracture the Brexiteer wing of the Tory party.
Attorney General Suella Braverman has already attracted the support of key Brexiteers, while Home Secretary Priti Patel – a member of the Vote Leave campaign ahead of the EU referendum – is also said to be mulling a bid.
Former Brexit minister Steve Baker, known as a highly effective organiser among Tory MPs, urged Mr Rees-Mogg to abandon any thought of adding himself to the long list of Conservative candidates.
It has been suggested Jacob Rees-Mogg will put himself forward as the ‘continuity Boris’ candidate
Ex-minister Steve Baker urged Mr Rees-Mogg to abandon any thought of adding himself to the long list of Conservative candidates
Attorney General Suella Braverman has already attracted the support of key Brexiteers in the race to become PM
Mr Baker, who ruled out his own leadership bid in order to back Mrs Braverman, warned Mr Rees-Mogg he ‘wouldn’t win a general election’ as Tory leader.
He told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: ‘There is a grave danger of fragmentation; Priti is standing, Jacob is apparently standing.
‘We’ll see whether he actually does. I love Jacob like a brother but he wouldn’t win a general election, I’m quite sure, so I hope to dissuade him, amongst others.
‘It’s a nonsense to have candidates standing all over the place.’
Mr Baker also dismissed Kemi Badenoch’s leadership bid as ‘a bit improbable’.
He added: ‘She hasn’t been in the Cabinet, Suella has been in the Cabinet and without Cabinet experience it’s difficult to see that somebody, while we’re in power, should become prime minister.’
Ex-chancellor Rishi Sunak is the early frontrunner as Tory rivals seek to garner the support of fellow MPs
With the Tory leadership battle becoming increasingly bitter between candidates – with claims of damaging dossiers being drawn up by rival camps on other contenders – Mr Baker vowed that Mrs Braverman’s campaign will be ‘squeaky, squeaky clean’.
‘There are some people involved in some campaigns who don’t play politics that way and insofar as that is up to me I will beat them and beat them fair and square and get them excluded from public life,’ he said.
Earlier, one Tory MP claimed that Mr Rees-Mogg was contemplating a leadership bid as the ‘pro-Boris candidate’.
They told the Telegraph: ‘He would be brilliant and probably the only person all the pro-Boris [MPs] could support.’
The newspaper reported that Mr Rees-Mogg had made contact with MPs and was considering standing to attract eurosceptics and provide a rallying point for the right of the party.