Tory Cabinet ministers warned over leadership ambitions by Jacob Rees-Mogg

The eccentric Conservative backbencher also said: 'The British constitution does not work without collective responsibility - there has to be and there is one Government position and that needs to be implemented 

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 01 August 2017 10:29
Comments
Jacob Rees-Mogg: Ministers thinking of leadership bids would be “undermining” the Conservatives

Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned dissenting Cabinet ministers they could be damaging their own leadership ambitions if they were even thinking about the Prime Minister’s job at present.

The eccentric Conservative MP made the comments after Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, and the Home Secretary Amber Rudd used the first week of the parliamentary recess to put forward their plans for Brexit amid emerging splits at the top of Government.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Rees-Mogg said that any minister thinking of the leadership would be “undermining” the Conservative party, the country and backbench MPs who desire “stability” and for Theresa May to carry on as Prime Minister.

He continued: “I can only think that the Cabinet are a group of loyal and devoted people who are getting on with their job as they ought to be. We’re just speculating theoretically, in case there was anybody who might be thinking about this and that person - if he or she happens to be listening - must realise he would be doing his own chances a great deal of damage.

Asked whether he was confused over the Government’s position on Brexit, he replied: “No, I’m not. I think there are some slight differences of emphasis but essentially the position remains as set out in the Lancaster House speech that we leave at the end of March, that free movement comes to an end there and then we’re getting down into the detail.”

“The British constitution does not work without collective responsibility,” Mr Rees-Mogg added after quoting the 19th century Prime Minister Lord Melbourne, who is believed to have said during a meeting of the Cabinet: “Now is it lower the price of corn or isn’t it? It is not much matter which we say but mind we must all say the same

The Old Etonian Mr Rees-Mogg continued: “There has to be and there is one Government position and that needs to be implemented.”

During the interview the Conservative MP also praised a young teenager after beating his record for the longest word used in Parliament, adding the 16-year-old “is a hero of our times” after using the word pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis. Mr Rees-Mogg previously held the title after deploying the word floccinaucinihilipilification during a debate in Parliament.

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