Can Britain’s Eccentric Rees-Mogg Become The Conservative Party’s New Leader? : Parallels : NPR

Conservative Party politician Jacob Rees-Mogg stands in the garden of his mansion in the west of England. Known for his posh, upper-class traits, Rees-Mogg has become an unlikely hit on social media.

Frank Langfitt/NPR


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Frank Langfitt/NPR

Conservative Party politician Jacob Rees-Mogg stands in the garden of his mansion in the west of England. Known for his posh, upper-class traits, Rees-Mogg has become an unlikely hit on social media.

Frank Langfitt/NPR

Jacob Rees-Mogg set a record for the longest word spoken in the British Parliament in 2012. The Conservative Party lawmaker aimed this hifalutin insult at the European Court of Justice:

“Let me indulge in the floccinaucinihilipilification of judges of the European Union,” said Rees-Mogg, as he stood in the House of Commons wearing a gray double-breasted suit. Then he quoted from the Old Testament.

Rees-Mogg, 48, is the son of a Lord and speaks in a posh accent that sounds like a character out of Downton Abbey. His demeanor seems such a throwback that he’s been referred to as “the Honorable Member for the 18th century.”

Recently, though, he’s developed a cult following on Twitter and Instagram — and some young conservatives want him to make a long-shot bid to lead the ruling Conservative, or Tory, Party.

As a write-in candidate, Rees-Mogg got the second-highest number of votes this month in a poll run by a right-wing blog on who should lead the party. He even beat Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Earlier this month, he made the rounds with British newspapers, espousing his conservative views while playing down any ambitions.

Why the growing interest in a politician who can seem like a parody of a “toff,” an old-fashioned, upper-class gentlemen?

There seem to be several reasons.

Political analysts say the Tory Party is looking for fresh faces after a disastrous election in June that saw the party lose its majority and Prime Minister Theresa May crippled.

Rees-Mogg supporters — who include a surprising number of young people — say he has struck a chord at a time of political…

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