North East Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has dismissed speculation that he is about to follow Clacton MP Douglas Carswell and defect from the Conservative Party to UKIP.
Mr Carswell’s decision to resign his seat and fight a subsequent by-election on behalf of the UK Independence Party caught fellow politicians and journalists off-guard, even though he has been a strong critic of Tory leader David Cameron’s stance on Europe.
In his resignation address at a press conference, supposedly called by UKIP to unveil a high profile party donor this morning, the former MP went much further however. In a stinging criticsim of Conservative Party bosses he said: “Of course they talk the talk before elections. They say what they feel they must say to get our support… but on so many issues – on modernising our politics, on the recall of MPs, on controlling our borders on less government, on bank reform, on cutting public debt, on an EU referendum – they never actually make it happen.”
North East Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has been another outspoken critic of the Coalition’s stance on Europe and has been an advocate of closer working relationships between the Tories and UKIP.
Following this morning’s announcement, Todd Foreman, Mr Rees-Mogg’s Labour opponent at the next election called on the MP to come clean on his intentions.
“The Tory MP for NE Somerset Jacob Rees Mogg needs to put his money where his mouth is and be honest with the residents of NE Somerset about what he stands for.
“Voters here in 2010 elected Jacob Rees Mogg on a platform of Conservative policies, but for over a year now he has been aligning himself with the extreme policies advocated by UKIP, such as wanting higher taxes for working families, huge giveaways for the rich, scrapping rights at work and charges to see your GP.
“His constituents have a right to know who it is that is representing them, what he believes and on what platform he is standing next year. If North East Somerset voters elect me as their MP at the next election, they know that they will be getting a Labour MP for the duration of the Parliament. Jacob Rees-Mogg needs to state clearly whether he will remain in the Conservative Party for the duration of the next Parliament if he is re-elected.”
But Mr Rees-Mogg told The Week In this afternoon: “All this talk is silly. My name always comes up in situations like today but of course I’m a Tory and I will always be a Tory.
“I do believe we could be working more closely with them but I think Ken Clarke will convert to UKIP before I ever do.”