Rees-Mogg faces ‘kick out homophobes’ protest at Queen Mary Uni’s Mile End campus
- Credit: Mike Brooke
Top Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg ran the gauntlet of protesting students with ‘anti homophobe’ banners on the Mile End campus where he arrived to give a talk.
He passed their picket at Queen Mary University for an open conversation and questions with the university’s Prof Philip Cowley in front of a packed audience.
But he took last night’s demo outside the lecture theatre in his stride.
The father-of-six who admits never having changed a baby’s nappy is a staunch anti-abortionist, firmly against same-sex marriage and a leading ‘Brexit’ advocate, also stood firm on immigration and commitment to global capitalism.
“At least they are engaging in issues,” he said. “I am firm on my conservative views, but won’t impose them on others and don’t believe in unnecessary legislation as a traditional liberal thinker.”
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He insisted he would not put his beliefs into law if he became prime minister.
“My views are not the law of the land and are not going to be,” he added. “Mine is one conscience against many.”
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The MP claimed the welfare safety net was working and dismissed an “hysterical suggestion” from the audience about people dying as “just not true”.
The outspoken backbencher who is not afraid to tell Theresa May when he thinks she’s going wrong is tipped by the bookies to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, despite never having held a government ministerial post in his eight years in Parliament.
But he wouldn’t think of challenging the PM and insisted he would never support any Commons ‘no confidence’ vote.
He was critical of the government’s “silly bureaucracy” in business which he said hampered enterprise and called for a lower VAT threathold for small firms.
The small group of Socialist Workers students outside chanting “Rees-Mogg not welcome here” didn’t stop the long queue waiting to hear him in the lecture theatre, but were anxious to voice opposition to his invitation to speak from the university’s Mile End Institute.
Engineering student Stephanie Onamade told the East London Advertiser: “He’s potentially the next Conservative leader and his views are incredibly backwards. He’s not what Queen Mary represents at all.
“What’s happening to EU migrants is disgusting. He’s such a hard Brexiteer which borders on racism.”
Even so, there was overwhelming support in the audience for the Eton-educated MP dubbed the “Honourable Member for the 18th century” for his upper-class mannerisms and plummy accent.
The millionaire MP raised laughs with a remark saying he had been at a Commons committee when he realised his suit was covered in his two-year-old’s breakfast.
He had made the mistake of picking him out of his high chair and didn’t know how nanny allowed him to do this. All the toddler’s breakfast ended up on his suit without him realising until he got to Westminster.
Serious issues aside, the High Tory politician received a standing ovation from the Mile End audience.