JACOB Rees-Mogg has denied that he would like to ditch the monarchy see the UK become a republic.
The Tory minister was quizzed during Business Questions after he warned that ousting Boris Johnson would lead to a General Election.
The comment, considered to be an attempt to dissuade Tory rebels from mounting a leadership challenge, was zeroed in on by SNP MP Pete Wishart He asked Rees-Mogg about his claims on BBC Newsnight, when he said that Parliament has moved to “an essentially presidential system”.
Wishart asked the Commons Leader to have a debate about the constitution just to “assert whether we are or not in the wait to become a republic”, adding: “Somebody should notify Her Majesty about this, but perhaps not the right honourable gentleman himself after that disastrous prorogation business, but somebody should be able to tell her.”
Rees-Mogg said that prior to the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, it was becoming “apparent” that an election needed to follow from a new leader and “what happened to Gordon Brown when he was prime minister was illustrative of this”.
The Conservative MP for North East Somerset noted being a “more presidential system” does not “override the need, the essential need, for a constitutional monarchy”.
He said: “So if we are looking at how the constitution has evolved, it is clear that a Prime Minister has a personal mandate, much more than a party mandate, that that mandate is one that comes from voters who would expect to renew it in the event of a change of prime minister.”
Rees-Mogg’s claims about Johnson’s removal leading to an election have been echoed by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.
She tweeted: “Blair as example of why we won’t need GE is wrong. It was yonks ago Blair to Brown smooth pre announced handover, no leadership election.
“Brown was still pressured to go, bottled it and then lost. V different times pre rolling 24hr news / social media.”
Blair as example of why we won’t need GE is wrong. It was yonks ago Blair to Brown smooth pre announced handover, no leadership election. Brown was still pressured to go, bottled it and then lost.
V different times pre rolling 24hr news / social media.
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) January 27, 2022
Such threats are intended to leave many Tory MPs, particularly those in the Red Wall of former Labour heartlands won in Johnson’s 2019 landslide, nervous about keeping their seats.
However, there is no requirement for a new leader to hold a General Election and there is little precedent for this approach. John Major, Gordon Brown and Theresa May have all become prime minister without calling an immediate election.