Moggmentum, those right-wing enough to be into that sort of thing call it. What started as a quasi-joke has taken on a life of its own. Seems there really are enough Tory activists out there in thrall to the Moggster.
This is mostly still being treated as a very remote possibility by the right of centre press. The expectation is that someone currently in the cabinet will take the mantle, whenever May should step down. The only this is, the Tory leadership pretty much never goes to the people the right-wing press think will get it, so Jacob Rees-Mogg, should he actually desire the premiership, is in good company there.
Rees-Mogg is also perfectly in line with the value system of what is very likely to be the majority of the Tory membership. If he was one of the candidates put to the members, given the state of everything and in particular Brexit, he would have a very good shot. Of course, what the pundits will say is that he would never get that far; that the parliamentary party would never let him get that deep into the process so that the leadership could pick him. I’m not so sure about this. A little over a year ago, Andrea Leadsom managed to get to the final two, and I don’t see how Rees-Mogg is any more Marmite than she is. If the timing was right, so few MPs might want the job that he gets to the final two by default. Or, the feeling in the parliamentary party just might swing Ress-Mogg’s way over the intervening period. The point is, there are several scenarios that I can see unfolding which would result in Rees-Mogg getting to the final stage of a Conservative leadership contest.
The final argument I will make for the likelihood of a Rees-Mogg leadership victory is a simple but effective one: Jeremy Corbyn. No one thought he could possibly become the Labour leader and yet there he is. Yes, Labour now have a bonkers system of electing leaders but that doesn’t mean the Tories’ way of going about thing is completely fool proof either.
What would happen if Jacob Rees-Mogg became Prime Minister? I’m going to try and stop myself from thinking about the wider implications of that and stick to what might happen to party politics as a result. If Rees-Mogg were Tory leader, I really think we might see the new centrist party come into being. Heidi Allen has already said she would leave the Conservative fold if Moggmentum went all the way, and I don’t doubt others would join her. Rees-Mogg as PM and Corbyn as leader of the opposition – that isn’t a situation I think could hold for terribly long.