Are Jacob Rees-Mogg’s nine speeches in 48 hours the start of a fi­nal push to the party sum­mit?

The Sunday Telegraph - - Brexit Special - By Ben Ri­ley-Smith

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

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