Rees-Mogg heaps pressure on Sunak with calls for TWO green policies to be scrapped as he outlines 'real opportunity' for Tories

Jacob Rees-Mogg, Rishi Sunak inset

Jacob Rees-Mogg piled pressure onto the Prime Minister

GB News/ PA
Dan Falvey

By Dan Falvey

Published: 23/07/2023

- 10:34

Updated: 23/07/2023

- 10:38

The former Cabinet minister said he remained personally supportive of the Prime Minister

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg has added his name to the growing list of Conservative backbenchers demanding a change of approach from Rishi Sunak following Thursday's by-election results.

The North East Somerset MP and GB News presenter told the Camilla Tominey Show it was important for Government to start "getting rid of unpopular, expensive green policies".

His intervention comes after the Conservatives unexpectedly held on to the seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip this week after the local candidate ran a campaign largely focused on his opposition to the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) to all London boroughs.

Urging the Prime Minister to earn the lesson of the result, Rees-Mogg said: "By-elections don't necessarily predict what is going to happen in a general election, they do give an opportunity for Governments to think about what they're doing and to see what works and what doesn't.

\u200bJacob Rees-Mogg on GB News

Jacob Rees-Mogg said that there were lessons to learn from Uxbridge

GB News

"What works is getting rid of unpopular, expensive green policies and that's a real opportunity for us."

Outlining green policies he would scrap, the former Cabinet minister added: "I would certainly get rid of the pledge to get rid of petrol cars in 2030. That was done a few years ago in different circumstances.

"I would get rid of the plans in the Energy Bill to put extra charges on people and have extra certificates for people selling their houses, owning property and so on.

"I would get rid of things that apply direct costs. Having a long term ambition for net zero is different and working towards it but we need to think about what other countries are doing, what is proportionate and what is affordable."

He also called on the Prime Minister to consider scrapping HS2 in order to bring down Government spending.

However, he denied taking a steam roller through Sunak's agenda and said that he remained very supportive to him in his role as leader of the Conservative party.

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg said he wanted to 'encourage' the Prime Minister to change his policies

GB News

"I support the Prime Minister strongly personally, of course there are some policies I would like to encourage him to change, but the lesson from Uxbridge is that there are things we can change that will be electorally successful and that's what is so fundamentally important," he said.

"They're in areas I don't think the Prime Minister would be strongly opposed to what I'm saying.

"If you look at his speeches over the years, his policy interests, he's never been a rabid net-zeroite."

He added: "Backbench MPs have to talk about policy and how policy ought to be going. That's part of our role, it's part of our role of holding the Government to account.

"But I'm supportive of him as an individual, as the leader of the party, as the Prime Minister, to carry on being the Prime Minister."

While the Tories won the Uxbridge by-election, they also lost two other votes which took place on the same day.

Yesterday Deputy Conservative Party chairman Lee Anderson told GB News that it was important for the Government to carefully consider what the results meant.

He said: "Let's not be arrogant but realise that our voters out there do want to vote for us.

"Nobody disagrees with the notion that we've got to make our planet much cleaner and leave this planet in a better condition than when we arrived. The one thing that concerns me about Net Zero is the fact that we seem to be doing it quicker and faster and more costly than any other nation.

"I worry about the constituents in Ashfield when they're struggling to pay their gas bills, and electric bills and struggling to fill the car up at the petrol station.

"So I would say what we need to do is have a rethink, because if we don't look at Uxbridge and the reasons for the win - the candidate Steve (Tuckwell), was quite clear: he didn't take any credit for the win and he didn't give any credit to the party, it was all down to the Ulez campaign.

"It was Labour who lost that campaign, and thank goodness, because it's given us a little bit of hope and I just hope that some of us aren't too arrogant to look at the results and think we can just plough ahead."

You may like