JA­COB’S NANNY BITES BACK!

Af­ter de­fend­ing her Rees-Mogg brood from class-war yobs, she de­clares he’d be an ex­cel­lent PM – and re­veals she kept him in line with the threat of a wooden spoon

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - The Agent Boot File - By Bren­dan Car­lin PO­LIT­I­CAL CORRESPONDENT

JA­COB Rees-Mogg’s for­mi­da­ble nanny to­day breaks her si­lence on fac­ing down class-war war­riors – and re­veals her se­cret to keep­ing the Tory MP in line as a boy.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with The Mail on Sun­day, Veron­ica Crook also lifts the lid on what she thinks of Brexit, the prospect of Boris John­son be­com­ing Prime Min­is­ter – and why Jeremy Cor­byn is un­fit for Down­ing Street.

The sight of Miss Crook, 76, rush­ing to con­front a group of class-war pro­test­ers as they am­bushed the Rees-Mogg fam­ily out­side their Cen­tral London home was one of the images of the week.

She was seen ad­vanc­ing in full sail to throw a pro­tec­tive arm around the Tory MP’s chil­dren as she saw off an­ar­chist leader Ian Bone. The pro­tester was filmed spite­fully telling the young­sters that their fa­ther was a ‘hor­ri­ble per­son’ and he also al­leged that the Rees-Moggs were ‘ex­ploit­ing’ Miss Crook. The claim brings a smile to the face of Miss Crook, who this week cel­e­brates her 53rd year work­ing for the fam­ily.

She was first em­ployed by the late news­pa­per editor Wil­liam Rees-Mogg – Ja­cob’s fa­ther – to look af­ter his chil­dren.

To mark what Ja­cob calls her ‘nanny-ver­sary’ and to show their grat­i­tude for her years of ser­vice, the Rees-Moggs are treat­ing her to din­ner at The Ritz.

Miss Crook jokes that the venue alone gives lie to ‘ridicu­lous’ sug­ges­tions that her em­ploy­ers ex­ploit her. ‘That is such non­sense,’ she says. ‘In terms of pay and con­di­tions, I am very sat­is­fied.’

The an­ar­chists’ de­ci­sion to con­front the Rees-Mogg fam­ily out­side their home brought con­dem­na­tion from across the po­lit­i­cal di­vide last week.

Miss Crook laments a coars­en­ing of po­lit­i­cal de­bate, say­ing: ‘It’s much more in­tru­sive than when I first worked for the fam­ily.’ But given that MP Ja­cob of­ten takes his chil­dren can­vass­ing, didn’t he to some ex­tent bring it on him­self? ‘No,’ replies Nanny firmly.

‘Ja­cob does take his chil­dren to po­lit­i­cal things but this wasn’t a po­lit­i­cal event. It was out­side the fam­ily’s front door and that is com­pletely dif­fer­ent.

‘If this had been some for­mal po­lit­i­cal func­tion, they could have said it was a mat­ter of free speech and so on, but it wasn’t.’

In­vest­ment man­ager Mr Rees-Mogg and his heiress wife He­lena have de­nied re­ports that they are sit­ting on a for­tune of around £150 mil­lion.

But doesn’t his un­doubted wealth pre­clude the Old Eto­nian from un­der­stand­ing and re­lat­ing to or­di­nary fam­i­lies?

‘That is just so un­fair,’ she says. ‘Ja­cob likes talk­ing to peo­ple from all walks of life and he’s in­ter­ested in their lives.’

And to prove that, she points out that dur­ing the Brexit de­bate, Mr Rees-Mogg has re­peat­edly stressed the ad­van­tages for work­ing fam­i­lies of cheaper clothes, shoes and food once the UK is fi­nally free of Brus­sels’ grasp.

In fact her views on this is­sue are so clear and tren­chant that it’s pos­si­ble that Nanny is the source of Mr Rees-Mogg’s ar­dent Euroscep­ti­cism.

‘What do I think about Brexit? ‘Out! Out! Out! is what I think,’ she de­clares.

Miss Crook has told this news­pa­per that the man whose nap­pies she used to change as a child would make ‘an ex­cel­lent Prime Min­is­ter’. Such is her be­lief in Mr Rees-Mogg she even ac­com­pa­nied him on the cam­paign trial on his doomed at­tempt in 1997 to win the rock­solid Labour seat of Cen­tral Fife – 13 years be­fore he fi­nally en­tered the Com­mons via the more Tory-friendly climes of North-East Som­er­set. But it’s clear that she also holds in high es­teem that other shin­ing star of the Brexit wing of the party, de­spite a re­cent wave of rev­e­la­tions about his pri­vate life.

Asked what she thinks of the prospect of Boris John­son be­com­ing Prime Min­is­ter, Miss Crook replies: ‘I like him. I found him very charm­ing when Ja­cob in­vited him here.’

Not sur­pris­ingly, her po­lit­i­cal fan club does not ex­tend to Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn. ‘I’m not keen on him,’ she says. ‘I don’t like all that anti-Semitism stuff.’

Just as she nur­tured Mr Rees-Mogg and his sib­lings, Miss Crook now looks af­ter the MP’s own ever-ex­pand­ing brood of five sons and one daugh­ter, with all the at­ten­dant chal­lenges of par­ent­ing and mod­ern life such as com­put­ers and iPads.

With the ar­rival of the lat­est Rees-Mogg, one-year-old Six­tus, demon­strat­ing his lung power in the back­ground, she muses: ‘The chil­dren don’t have their own iPads

Nanny’s view on Brexit? ‘Out! Out! Out!’

but they are al­lowed to use other peo­ple’s.’ Nanny Crook diplo­mat­i­cally fights shy of com­par­ing the fa­ther to his off­spring.

But she re­veals that Mr Rees-Mogg will be on shaky ground if he ever lec­tures his chil­dren on healthy eat­ing. Asked if Mr Rees-Mogg ate his greens as a child, she replies: ‘No!’

Not that it did him any harm, in her view, in mould­ing him into the man he has be­come.

Asked what moral val­ues she in­stilled in Mr Rees-Mogg, she pauses be­fore say­ing: ‘Hon­esty, kind­ness and thought­ful­ness for other peo­ple.’

She also re­veals that the young Ja­cob – who was fa­mously pic­tured read­ing the Fi­nan­cial Times when he was just 12 – could be pretty ‘stub­born’ as a child.

So how did she keep him in check? ‘I never re­ally had to pun­ish him,’ she re­calls.

‘The un­used threat of the wooden spoon was quite enough.’

If only the Tory Party whips’ of­fice were as civilised.

PRO­TEC­TIVE: Veron­ica Crook looks up at Ja­cob Rees-Mogg as pro­tester Ian Bone, far right, be­gins his ver­bal at­tack The nanny cud­dles Ja­cob, then aged four, in 1973 CLOSE BOND:

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