Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Internet's favourite MP

Bespectacled, plummy-voiced Tory baffled by his cult following


Given that he thinks council fine collectors should wear bowler hats and wants guitars banned from Mass, it was no surprise Jacob Rees-Mogg turned up to hospital to welcome his sixth child - appropriately named Sixtus - in a suit and tie.

The photo of Rees-Mogg, MP for North East Somerset since 2010, spread like wildfire on social media, where the arch-conservative Tory has amassed an unusual following.

See more
See more

After a general election shaped by Corbynmania and a Glastonbury Festival dominated by chants of "Oh, Jeremy Corbyn,", you'd be forgiven for a man the Daily Mail dubbed the "poshest man in politics" would be a hard sell on liberal-leaning social media.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

But despite displaying every tendency which, on paper, should turn him into a bogeyman - a former Eton boy who voted against gay marriage and for leaving the EU - Twitter and Facebook are obsessed with the eccentric backbencher, nicknamed "the honourable member for the early 20th century".

See more

One Facebook fan page - entitled Middle Class Memes for Rees-Moggian Teens - has more than 30,000 followers, the BBC reports.

"The electorate is heartily sick of the professional political class," wrote Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail, and in an era when politicians often try their hardest to appear blandly accessible, it's not hard to see the appeal in an MP who is unafraid to be his unapologetically plummy self.

See more
See more

One Rees-Mogg trademark which has probably endeared him to voters more than to his colleagues is his penchant for subjecting the Commons to lengthy filibusters.

At a 2012 debate on the Sustainable Livestock Bill, for instance, Rees-Mogg's meandering speech included a mention of "the Empress of Blandings, the only pig in history to win the silver medal at the Shropshire show for three successive years" - a reference to PG Wodehouse's Blandings novels.

Nonetheless, he remains a popular figure on both sides of the aisle. SNP MP Mhairi Black, a vocal anti-Tory well known for her blazing anti-austerity diatribes, has described Rees-Mogg as her "boyfriend" and one of her favourite colleagues. "I could sit and listen to him all day," she told The Guardian.

However, his voting record has caused some left-wing commentators to look askance at his online adulation, warning fans not to look beyond his dapper demeanour and charming anachronisms.

See more
See more

Rees-Mogg himself has embraced his online following. "I am a late convert to social media and it's turned out to be great fun," he told the BBC. "We've put up some jolly photographs. You hear a lot about unpleasantness but it's reassuring that there is a lighter touch."

Although his fans frequently call for Rees-Mogg to lead the Conservative party, the man himself is adamant that he sees his cult of personality as being for amusement purposes only.

"This is all light-hearted banter," he said: "It would be a mistake to let it go to one's head."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.