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Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Tory MP tipped to replace Theresa May, has appalling views on abortion

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Moya Crockett
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In recent months, Jacob Rees-Mogg has emerged as a favourite to replace Theresa May as the most senior Conservative politician in the country. The North East Somerset MP, known for his eccentrically old-fashioned demeanour and dry wit, has built up something of a cult following on social media, where his fans describe themselves as in the grip of “Moggmania”. Multiple reports this summer suggested that Rees-Mogg’s popularity was on the rise, and according to a poll released this week, almost a quarter of Conservative supporters now back him as the next party leader.

But here’s the thing about Jacob Rees-Mogg: he has shockingly harsh views on abortion (among many other things).

Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Wednesday, Rees-Mogg described abortion as “morally indefensible”.

“I’m completely opposed to abortion,” he told hosts Piers Morgan and Susannah Reid. “Life is sacrosanct and begins at the point of conception.”

When asked if he even opposed abortion in the cases of rape or incest, the pro-Brexit MP replied: “Yes, I am. I’m afraid so.”



There is arguably nothing surprising about Rees-Mogg’s remarks. The Old Etonian has never been shy about discussing his Catholic faith, and is known for his retrograde views on gender roles. The father-of-six famously claims to have never changed a nappy or done a school run, and used to hold dinner parties where women were asked to leave the room so that the men could drink brandy alone.

However, his beliefs seem rather more worrying given his recent surge in popularity. An anti-choice, anti-LGBT rights backbench politician is one thing; a party leader is quite another.

Morgan and Reid also asked Rees-Mogg about his views on same-sex marriage, which he has previously said he does not support. The MP refused to condemn the practice outright, but said: “I’m a Catholic and I take the teachings of the Catholic Church seriously.

“Marriage is a sacrament and the decision of what is a sacrament lies with the church, not with parliament.”

But Rees-Mogg said that he considered abortion to be the greater of the two ills. “It’s a completely different kettle of fish,” he said.

“With same-sex marriage, that is something that people are doing for themselves. With abortion, it is something that is done to the unborn child. That is different.”



Rees-Mogg brushed off reports that he wanted to become Prime Minister, dismissing the rumours as “good silly season stuff”. He said that he “fully support[s] Mrs May,” who recently entered the Conservative Party into a coalition with the anti-abortion DUP.

“I want her to remain leader of the Tory party,” he said.  

He also acknowledged that the UK’s laws on abortion and same-sex marriage were extremely unlikely to change, even if he was to rise to the top of the party.

“These matters within the House of Commons are free votes,” he said. “They are not determined by the Prime Minister. There is no question of these laws being changed. There would not be a majority in the House of Commons for that.”

“I don’t want to criticise people who lead lives that are different to mine,” Rees-Mogg continued. “But equally I don’t want to divert from the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

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Jacob Rees-Mogg on Good Morning Britain.

Katherine O’Brien, head of policy research at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said that Rees-Mogg’s “extreme” views were “wildly at odds” with public opinion. Only 7% of people think that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances in Britain, in line with a worldwide uptick in pro-choice sentiment.

“Every politician is entitled to hold their own opinion on abortion,” said O’Brien. “But what matters is whether they would let their own personal convictions stand in the way of women's ability to act on their own.”

Like his fellow Tory MP Boris Johnson, Rees-Mogg has long been the recipient of a sort of eye-rolling affection from the general public. He’s seen as a light-hearted figure of fun: a relic from a bygone era of Britishness who makes a great panellist on Have I Got News for You. But if his latest comments show us anything, it’s that there is nothing funny about him – or his beliefs – at all.

Images: Rex Features

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Moya Crockett

Moya is Women's Editor at stylist.co.uk, where she is currently overseeing the Visible Women campaign. Carrying a tiny bottle of hot sauce on her person at all times is one of the many traits she shares with both Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton.

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