The prominent Brexiteer MP, Jacob Rees Mogg, paid a visit to the University of Kent on Friday, talking on several topics, including Brexit, democracy and the UK’s sovereignty.
When asked by InQuire as to who he’d vote for in a Tory leadership contest, Rees-Mogg opened the question to the audience on who they’d vote for, including names such as: Boris Johnson, Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd and Sajid Javid.
Having gathered the audience’s opinion, who were mostly in favour of Boris Johnson, he too concluded that “I won’t put my own name forward” and furthermore “If it were tomorrow (a vote), I’d back Boris”.
His comments come amid heavy speculation that Theresa May could make way for a new leader, and consequently Prime Minister, in the aftermath of Brexit.
Rees-Mogg addressed the audience for over an hour during his speech and consequent Q&A.
Arriving later than expected, the MP for Northeast Somerset entered the lobby of the event whilst protesters across the room carried banners advocating for a second referendum and wearing masks of their target.
Once inside the well populated lecture hall, including former Canterbury MP Julian Brazier, UKC Liberty Union’s Chris Barnard gave an introduction to the man that has become synonymous with the further-right-wing of the Conservative party, and arguably didn’t need an introduction.
Speaking calmly and professionally, he chose to address the students attending as the “intellectual elite” before inevitably turning to the topic on everybody’s lips, Brexit.
Whilst unsurprisingly stating that he thought the current Brexit deal was “deeply flawed”, Rees-Mogg did elaborate his predictions on what he thinks will happen.
“On the 29th March, one of three things will happen”; “We leave without an agreement, or basically get her deal with a few tweaks” whilst there was only a “very very, very slim chance of a delayed Brexit”.
Protesters from the UKC Young Europeans society protested in the lobby wearing masks of the MP and held aloft a banner displaying a tweet he published advocating for a second referndum in 2011.
Jacob Rees-Mogg also attempted to address the concerns of the protesters outside wanting a second referendum, declaring it as the “loser’s argument” and elaborating that “I have no fear of a second referendum” as “it will be won overwhelmingly be leave.”
He also claimed that he knew of no person who wants a second referendum who voted leave initially, and that some MP’s that originally voted remain would in future vote for leave based on maintaining trust in democracy.
“They (leave voters) would ask for another referendum- a Best of Three”
In the following Q&A, students were eager to ask questions, particularly on the recent creation of The Independent Group and was confused as to why they’d established what he believed an “anti-Brexit” group after it has already been voted on.
“I think they’re making the same mistakes as the SDP”, but also believed that they should all call by-elections in their own interest, “the longer it goes on, the unlikelier they’d get voted through”
A Brexit supporter (right) debates with the protesters about the possibility of a second referendum with InQuire's Bill Bowkett onlooking (left).
Three Conservative MP’s left the party to join the nine MP’s who quit Labour last week and speculation is still continuing if any more are to defect from either party.
When also asked about what action the UK should take on issue surrounding the IS teenager Shamima Begum, Rees-Mogg spoke contrary to the government’s policy saying “If you can take away someone’s passport, you must have the power to take away everyone’s passport”, although he did maintain that she will probably face prosecution for alleged crimes.