Jacob Rees-Mogg has donned a high-visibility jacket and joked that he’s learning to drive a forklift “in case I need a new job.”
The cabinet minister who supports Liz Truss In the ongoing race for leadership, he joked he could soon be out of a job as the race to find the new prime minister intensifies with candidates being grilled in a televised debate tonight.
The 53-year-old has supported Liz Truss as she struggles to reclaim the early leader Penny Mordaunt in the lead race.
Mr Rees-Mogg, who is a die-hard Brexiteer and was a staunch supporter of the current Prime Minister Boris Johnsonsupports Ms. Truss and her pledges to cut taxes.
The former backbench heavyweight has held a number of cabinet posts in recent years – he was appointed leader of the House of Commons by Boris Johnson in 2019 before becoming Minister of State for Brexit Chances and Government Efficiency earlier this year.
However, he could return to the back benches if another candidate wins the race to replace Mr Johnson.
Jacob Rees-Mogg was pictured in a forklift truck at a business in his North East Somerset constituency today. He joked he’s studying if I need a job.
It comes as the remaining five contenders for the Conservative leadership faced off in a televised debate tonight. Pictured left to right are Tory MPs Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Tom Tugendhat
Mr Rees-Mogg, pictured here at the IBMATA summit in London on Wednesday, has thrown his support behind Liz Truss in the ongoing leadership dispute
Among the other contenders are former chancellor Rishi Sunak, longtime Boris Johnson critic Tom Tugendhat and former minister Kemi Badenoch.
Mr Rees-Mogg joked on Twitter that he may have to learn a new trade if he becomes unemployed.
The famous posh MP was spotted on the vehicle today at the opening of a showroom for the company Prime Tools in Midsomer Norton, in his North East Somerset constituency.
In a tweet he said: “Learn if I need a new job… @PrimeToolscouk”.
The tweet came hours before the five remaining contenders for the Tory leadership took the stage in tonight’s televised debate.
During the debate, moderated by Channel 4, candidates were asked about Boris Johnson, trust and integrity in office and their plans to help people struggling with the cost of living crisis.
Mr Rees-Mogg’s preferred candidate, Liz Truss, has pledged to reverse a proposed increase in corporate tax next year from 19 per cent to 25 per cent – at a cost of £16bn.
The opening questions were dominated by the shadows of the prime minister’s tenure, with Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch, Rishi Sunak and Tom Tugendhat facing questions about trust and integrity in office
Their tax pledges contrasted with rivals like frontrunner Rishi Sunak, who again refused to commit to tax cuts. He told viewers of the Zoom event organized by the Conservative Home website that controlling rising inflation was more important than blind tax cuts.
Ms Truss said: “We need to start putting money back in people’s pockets immediately, we know families are struggling to make ends meet at the moment.
Tory lead race: second round voting result
Rishi Sunak: 101 (+13)
Penny Mordaunt: 83 (+16)
Liz Truss: 64 (+14)
Kemi Badenoch: 49 (+9)
Tom Tugendhat: 32 (-5)
Suella Braverman: 27 (-5)
“I would reverse the increase in Social Security, I opposed it in Cabinet at the time because I thought it was a mistake, I think it’s even more of a mistake now when we’re facing such severe economic headwinds.
“I would also introduce a temporary green energy moratorium to reduce people’s energy bills by £153.
“And I wouldn’t raise corporate taxes either, because I think it’s crucial that we attract investment to our country.”
Mr Rees-Mogg expressed his agreement during the debate, tweeting: “Thatcher meritocracy is what we need. #Liz4Leader #C4LeaderDebate’
The Tory MP has been in the news in recent months amid his ongoing battle with the civil service as he attempts to push through austerity.
He has blasted civil servants for continuing to allow employees to work from home despite the end of the pandemic and has threatened to fire those who don’t return to the office full-time.
The minister plans to reduce the number of workers in Whitehall by 91,000 and has left notes on empty desks reading ‘Looking forward to seeing you in the office soon’, leading to claims from unions that he is ‘killing workers’ bullied”.