Jacob Rees-Mogg - who tried to oust Theresa May - calls for 'loyalty' from Tory voters
PUBLISHED: 09:51 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:39 13 May 2019
The MP who led the rebellion against Theresa May's Brexit deal, and her position as prime minister, is now calling for "loyalty" from Conservative voters.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the European Research Group of Tories, appealed for disillusioned Conservatives to stick with the party for the sake of Theresa May's replacement.
Speaking to LBC Radio, he explained: "Many Conservatives, people who have been members for decades, feel this is a two-pronged opportunity - one, to say why haven't we left? And the other to say 'we are not entirely convinced by the current leadership'.
"And people feel that if they vote Conservative they will be saying they are accepting Mrs May's deal and Mrs May's leadership.
"Many Conservatives, most Conservatives, want to leave the EU and would prefer to leave on WTO terms, the so-called no-deal exit, and therefore they don't feel that they should go out and support the Tories on this occasion.
"The results look as though they will be difficult."
He admitted it would not be wise for him to lead the charge against Theresa May after "having a pop at this in December", but claimed - without a hint of irony - after the vote late last year, many MPs had since changed their mind and would now vote a different way.
In a message to Tories, he said: "I would appeal to their loyalty, to their tradition and to say that the Conservative Party will get a new leader at some point."
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"We want that new leader to have a base on which he or she can build and if we find that we are getting under 15% of the vote, if we are coming fifth behind the Greens, then it will be harder for that figure to rebuild."
He acknowledged that the European elections "look as though they will be difficult" and people were "very enthusiastic" about the Brexit Party, whose candidates include Rees-Mogg's sister Annunziata.
After the local elections Jacob Rees-Mogg's local council turned from Tory to Liberal Democrat, and his ward is now represented by a pro-EU Lib Dem.
Meanwhile, despite giving Farage two spots on the BBC's top political programmes in just four days, and cancelling Have I Got News For You over an appearance from Change UK's leader. Rees-Mogg claimed that the BBC was "pro-Remain".
He said: "The partiality of the BBC has become clearer and clearer.
"It is a pro-Remain organisation, it regularly has more pro-Remain interviewees on its programmes."
"They try very hard to weight them in favour of remaining in the European Union, and they do that brilliantly. It's a great triumph for them.
"But they're a publicly funded broadcaster."