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Thursday 1 February 2018

Jacob Rees Mogg - Pants On Fire

[Update at end of post]

One might have expected those who are communicants of the Church of Rome to at least pay lip service to its teachings, especially on the subject of honesty. But it seems that the self-important and overbearing Jacob Rees Mogg, the Member for Times Long Past, has momentarily lost track of his obligations to the Almighty and the Pontiff, after he made an intervention in the Brexit debate which is at variance with reality.
As Adam Bienkov has told in a Business Insider post, “The civil service may be conspiring to keep Britain in the customs union after Brexit, the Brexit minister Steve Baker has suggested … Civil servants are legally obliged to remain impartial on public policy”.
There was more. “However, Baker was asked in the House of Commons by Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg whether he had heard claims that Treasury officials had ‘deliberately developed a model’ to show that ‘every model other than staying in the customs union were bad as a means to influence policy’ … Baker told MPs that he was ‘sorry to say that my honourable friend's account is essentially correct’”.
Would Baker like to pony up the name of the person overheard? According to Bienkov’s post, “Mogg was referring to comments allegedly made by the Director of Centre for European Reform Charles Grant”. Sadly, the CER has stated thatCharles Grant did not say or imply that the Treasury had deliberately developed a model to show that all options outside the customs union were bad with an intention to influence policy”.
And others have been swift to endorse Grant’s recollection, Antoinette Sandbach being one of them: “I was at the #Prospect lunch at which @CER_Grant is alleged to have made these comments as was a member of my staff. At NO point did I hear any suggestion of civil servants deliberately manipulating data modelling”.
Duncan Weldon of Resolution Group simply added “Ditto. (I chaired it)”, before going on to note “The thing is... if a credible person such as @CER_Grant had said ‘I think the Treasury are rigging the numbers’... I'd have mentioned that at the time”. Quite.
It was therefore no surprise when Rob Hutton of Bloomberg asked “So is it possible that the House was misled this morning?” In fact, the House may well have been doubly misled, as the impression is given that Baker, who has already rubbished the leaks that led to the claims discussed, despite their coming from the Government of which he is a member, was aware that the question put by Rees Mogg was going to be asked.
So, far from rubbishing the Brexit forecasts some more, Steve Baker and Jacob Rees Mogg are now potentially in the mire for telling porkies in the Commons, or even conspiring to tell porkies, which is arguably worse. And while the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press might well give both MPs a free pass, every opposition party, and indeed some of their own colleagues, will not. Was this a planted question?
And if so, it is clear that the only “rigging” that was being done was not to the models used to generate forecasts, but to the business of Parliament. Rees Mogg will need more than a few Hail Marys to get out of that one. He and Baker are a disgrace to the House.

[UPDATE 1840 hours: a recording of Charles Grant's remarks has now been made public by the team from Prospect. At no time does he say what Rees Mogg and Baker suggest he said. So perhaps they would both like to present themselves to the House and withdraw the comments that are already on the record, making allegations which are totally untrue.

After all, they are both staunch upholders of Parliamentary sovereignty. Aren't they?]


Burlington Bertie from Bow said...

The overgrown 11 year old swot that is Jacob Tree-Frogg probably had his fingers crossed when he lied. If not, there's always confession on Sunday and possibly even a sore botty from the priest if he's lucky.(Bit of constructive ambiguity with the pronoun there).

Anonymous said...

Could it be argued (hypothetically), if the question were indeed planted, that this was done on behalf of the European Reform Group? If so, Mr. Speaker, isn't the funding of the ERG all the more important a matter for urgent investigation?

Norma Frye said...

Just hilarious and clever especially through my Catholic prism. Also recognisable as the truth.

Ferdy Fox said...

I find all this talk of the Mogg being dishonest and a serial liar to boot rather unfortunate. Didn't he after all recently say to Krishnan Guru-Murthy in a C4 interview that he was supporting Brexit in order to help poor people buy cheaper shoes and clothing.
What a nice chap!

Anonymous said...

Rees Mogg has his uses.

He's a reminder of just how truly awful is the unchanging tory mindset.

Mind you, anybody who can look at sociopathic meffs like Hunt, Johnson, Hammond, May, Shapps, Duncan Cough, Soubry, Greening, Leadsom and McVey, and vote for them, really ought to consult what passes for their own moral values. By comparison, Rees Mogg is merely a bizarre throw back covered in cobwebs.

Expect things to get worse. Much worse.