Monday, 3 Oct 2022

Jacob Rees-Mogg jokes he's 'learning' to drive a forklift truck

Jacob Rees-Mogg dons a high-vis jacket while riding a forklift truck as he jokes he’s ‘learning in case I need a new job’ – as Tory MPs vying to be the next PM are grilled in the first TV debate

  • The famously posh MP was pictured on a forklift truck at a business in Somerset 
  • He joked he was ‘learning in case I need a new job’ amid Tory leadership debate
  • The cabinet minister is backing Eurosceptic Liz Truss in the ongoing hustings

Jacob Rees-Mogg has donned a high-vis jacket and joked he is learning to drive a forklift job ‘in case I need new job’.

The cabinet minister, who is backing Liz Truss in the ongoing leadership race, joked he might soon be out of a job as the race to find the new Prime Minister heats up with candidates being grilled in a TV debate tonight.

The 53-year-old has given his backing to Liz Truss as she battles to claw back ground on the early front runner Penny Mordaunt in the leadership race.

Mr Rees-Mogg, who is a hardline Brexiteer and has been a staunch supporter of current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is supporting Ms Truss and her pledges to cut taxes. 

The former backbench heavyweight has occupied a number of cabinet positions in recent years – he was appointed Leader of the House of Commons by Boris Johnson in 2019, before becoming Minister of State for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency earlier this year. 

However, he could find himself returning to the backbenches 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 was ‘learning in case I need a job’

It comes as the remaining five Conservative leadership contenders faced off in a televised debate this evening. 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 hustings

Among the other contenders are former chancellor Rishi Sunak, long-term Boris Johnson critic Tom Tugendhat, and former minister Kemi Badenoch.

Mr Rees-Mogg joked on Twitter that he might need to learn a new trade in case he finds himself out of a job. 

The famously posh MP was seen on the vehicle at the opening of a showroom for business Prime Tools in Midsomer Norton today, which lies in his constituency of North East Somerset. 

In a tweet he said: ‘Learning in case I need a new job… @PrimeToolscouk’.

The tweet came hours before the five remaining Tory leadership contenders took to the stage in the first televised debate tonight.

During the debate, which was hosted by Channel 4, the candidates faced questioned about Boris Johnson, trust and integrity in office, as well as their plans to help people struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

Mr Rees-Mogg’s preferred candidate, Liz Truss pledged to reverse a planned increase in corporation tax next year from 19 to 25 per cent –  at a cost of £16 billion.

The opening questions were dominated by the shadow of the Prime Minister’s time in office, with Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch, Rishi Sunak and Tom Tugendhat facing questions about trust and integrity in office

Her tax pledges were in contrast to rivals including frontrunner Rishi Sunak, who again refused to commit to tax cuts. He told those watching the Zoom event organised by the Conservative Home website that controlling soaring inflation was more important than blindly cutting tax.

Ms Truss said: ‘We immediately need to start putting money back into people’s pockets, we know families are struggling to make ends meet at the moment.

Tory leadership race: Round two vote result 

Rishi Sunak: 101 (+13)

Penny Mordaunt: 83 (+16)

Liz Truss: 64 (+14)

Kemi Badenoch: 49 (+9)

Tom Tugendhat:  32 (-5)

ELIMINATED 

Suella Braverman: 27 (-5) 

‘I would reverse the national insurance rise, 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 strong economic headwinds.

‘I would also have a temporary moratorium on the green energy level to cut £153 from people’s energy bills.

‘And I would also not do the corporation tax hikes because I think it’s vitally important that we’re attracting investment into our country.’

Mr Rees-Mogg voiced his approval during the debate, tweeting: ‘Thatcherite 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 tries to force through savings. 

He has taken swipes at the Civil Service for continuing to allow staff to work from home despite the end of the pandemic and has threatened to sack those who do not return to the office full time.

The minister plans to slash the number of workers in Whitehall by 91,000, and has left notes on empty desks with the message ‘I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon’, prompting claims from unions he is ‘bullying’ workers.

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