Hello, I'm Peter Roberts and I'd like to set out why Jacob Rees-Mogg isn't the man of honesty, decency and courtesy that he'd like us to believe. On the contrary, I believe him to be a liar, a hypocrite and a coward; in short, a rather nasty piece of work. Tina Johnston and I have put together the banner that appears on this website's Home page. Its travels here and abroad will be followed on this website. We encourage you to keep a look out for it and share its appearances.
Calling someone a liar, a hypocrite and a coward is a serious business so I'd better be able to prove it. I believe I can.
Let's start with Rees-Mogg's hypocrisy. In a BBC interview in June 2017 he said that "Parliament should be the servant not the master of the people." In short, it should 'rubber-stamp' Brexit. So, although most MPs did (and still do) think Brexit will be a national disaster, Rees-Mogg demands that they vote not with their consciences but as delegates of the small majority of active voters who voted for it in a referendum that was explicitly - and legally - advisory, not mandatory.
However, Rees-Mogg hypocritically allows himself a freedom which contradicts his stand over Brexit. Opposing same-sex marriage in 2013 he said, "As a Catholic, I take my whip from the Church not the Government Whips". In other words, he will vote with his own conscience irrespective of what his constituents believe. But Rees-Mogg can't advocate both views: he can't say he'll vote as he likes over religion while demanding that other MPs don't over Brexit. That's hypocrisy - and he knows it!
Rees-Mogg has been challenged again and again on this point but refuses to engage with it, let alone defend it. That - for a man who famously told protesters against him to "engage or retreat" - is cowardice, but more of that later.
After his incorrect and hypocritical comment about MPs I wrote a polite email to Rees-Mogg and asked him to clarify his position by answering two seemingly obscure but actually rather important questions. Here they are and I ask you to bear with me while I briefly explain why.
1. Do you believe that Edmund Burke was wrong in his address to the electors of Bristol in 1774?
2. If so, with what principle would you replace that which he set out in it?
(I've since written over 100 times asking for Rees-Mogg's clarification on these points but without reply. You can dip into the emails on my Facebook and Twitter pages - see the links.)
Okay. So why do these two questions matter?
Well, the principle of representative parliamentary democracy underpins the UK constitution and the doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty that Rees-Mogg says he wants to strengthen. The philosopher Edmund Burke set it out in that 1774 speech. He argued that an MP represents voters but isn't their delegate, and that his (or her) conscience should, if necessary, override the will of the people. He went further: to do otherwise betrays his electorate. If we don't like what our MPs do, we can vote them out.
This representative principle, as well as being at the heart of our constitution and Parliament's role in it, has always been stoutly defended by ... Rees-Mogg's Conservative Party, for whom Burke is a towering figure and in effect the 'house philosopher'.
Here again is Rees-Mogg's hypocrisy: as I wrote, he can't demand that MPs vote to enact Brexit and then assert his own right to vote as he chooses. If the former applies, Burke's principle is breached; if the latter, the majority of MPs who are against leaving the EU on the grounds of the national interest are entitled (indeed, required) to vote it down. Rees-Mogg and his fellow Brexiteers simply can't answer the two questions without fatally undermining their own stand on Brexit. This includes their equally hypocritical shop steward Steve Baker MP, who told me personally (along with a class full of school pupils) that it was Burke's speech that got him into politics in the first place.
Since my first attempt to contact him, Rees-Mogg has allowed and encouraged a cult of personality to develop. Many of his supporters - worshippers is not too strong a word - seem to believe (along, I suspect, with Rees-Mogg himself) that he can walk on water. But despite his feigned traditionalism, decency and courtesy, he is, I believe, a dishonest and devious man who tries to be both God and Caesar; the most effective, dangerous and sinister populist of our time.
What about Rees-Mogg's lying? In his 2017 General Election video address to the constituents of north-east Somerset, Rees-Mogg claimed that the UK had already left the European Union. A slip of the tongue? No: you don't make slips of the tongue in election addresses, which are very carefully drafted documents! There's only one reason why he'd make such a claim: to win votes from people who were ignorant or unsure. Hence, Jacob Rees-Mogg is a liar too and by no means an accidental one.
So there we have it - I think that's all three boxes ticked and there's more evidence for all three claims that you'll be able to read here too.
SO PLEASE DON'T BE FOOLED BY JACOB REES-MOGG: HE IS A LIAR, A HYPOCRITE AND A COWARD.
For the good of our nation and ALL those who live in it we need to call Rees-Mogg out; we hope you will help us and encourage others to do so!