Last week Theresa May came under fire from grassroots activists not over her weak and wobbly leadership but over reported proposals to limit the say local party members have when it comes to selecting candidates. So, it’s rather unfortunate for the Prime Minister that the man currently favoured by the membership as her successor is with the grassroots on this one.
Speaking on the ConservativeHome Moggcast, Jacob Rees-Mogg criticised plans to centralise power on candidate selection as ‘undemocratic’. He offered a cautionary tale of his own – had central office had their way the Moggster would not be in Parliament today. Rees-Mogg says CCHQ were at pains to prevent his selection in 2010:
‘My agent was told that before the final selection round that she could have any candidate she liked so long as their name wasn’t Rees-Mogg or her name. Central office was very keen to stop me being selected at every stage.
Fortunately, Michael Ancram was the MP sitting in on the sift at central office and when they were saying to my association you can’t have Jacob Rees-Mogg and they said “oh yes we can”, Michael Ancram came down on their side – and that’s how I got through in the first place but they continued to put pressure on my selection.’
Of course increased powers to the Conservative membership in any leadership contest could benefit Rees-Mogg significantly.