Are Jacob Rees-Mogg’s nine speeches in 48 hours the start of a final push to the party summit?
ASSISTANT POLITICAL EDITOR
HE WAS the surprise political hit of the summer, soaring up the list of Tory leadership hopefuls thanks to his unfiltered Euroscepticism and “true blue” values.
Now Jacob Rees-Mogg appears hopeful his popularity surge can continue into autumn and beyond, if his party conference schedule is any indication.
The Sunday Telegraph has established that the MP for North East Somerset is to give no fewer than nine speeches in 48 hours to the party faithful next month.
He will address fringe events on everything from Brexit and the Conservative Party to the importance of free markets and the resurgent hard-Left. He will also attend a rally on making Britain’s EU departure a success and meet a string of influential journalists.
The blitz of engagements will fuel speculation Mr Rees-Mogg has his eyes on the top prize, despite insisting he has no interest in the Tory leadership.
In the audience for his speeches will be scores of Conservative members – the grass roots of the party who will ul- timately pick Theresa May’s successor. Leadership hopefuls will use conference – which begins on Oct 1 – to show off their credentials.
Tory commentators said Mr ReesMogg’s willingness to “put the case” for a Britain run under the party’s traditional principles had struck a chord with activists. He came top of a recent poll of 1,300 Tory members asked who they wanted as the next leader, with 23 per cent of the support. David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, came second.
Mr Rees-Mogg’s vehement support for Brexit and traditional Conservative values have chimed with party members but alarmed others. His opposition to abortion in all circumstances, including rape, recently triggered widespread condemnation.
Jacob Rees-Mogg is gearing up for a busy party conference, with a series of non-stop engagements