Another day, another unravelling of the deceit peddled by Tory throwback Jacob Rees Mogg, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, and the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate. We already knew that the fracas at the event where Rees Mogg was speaking last Friday was not caused by the Corbyn-supporting Momentum group: now we know the MP was lying about it, too.
The backstory is straightforward: Rees Mogg was speaking at the University of the West of England. A small but vocal group got into the auditorium and protested loudly. Rees Mogg - perhaps rather too nonchalantly - went over to reason with them. But there was no violence, and no scuffles, until an older man in a white shirt waded in and assaulted a young woman protestor. The Fawkes mob then called it as a Momentum hit.
This drove the press coverage. It also supplied the narrative for Tory chairman Brandon Lewis, as I’ll post later. But The Great Guido was, as so often, being selective and dishonest: there was no mention of White Shirt Man. That soon changed.
The thug who assaulted the young woman was identified as Paul Townsley, a martial arts enthusiast from nearby Yate. Rees Mogg declared that he did not know him. But then Townsley’s son William waded in clumsily, confirming that Dad had met the MP, and that he was the one involved in the melée, although excusing him with “It wasn’t a hit”.
Townsley junior’s apologia was as strange as it was unconvincing: “Listen mate that wasn’t a hit, I’ve sparred my dad and even light sparring he hits like a mule, I take it you don’t have a wife to go home to?” Odd attitude for an 18-year-old, but hey ho.
But we now know that Townsley junior was also being seriously economical with the actualité when he claimed that it was he who had taken Dad along to meet Rees Mogg. Images soon surfaced showing Townsley in the background when Rees Mogg was in front of the cameras. And then it got worse still.
Footage from an event in nearby Cheltenham showed Rees Mogg being confronted by, yes, more protestors, but also being escorted by someone from Eyewitness Protection, a security firm which specialises in close protection operations. Its management has Royal and diplomatic experience, and someone like Townsley, who is ex-armed forces (he served in the Royal Navy) and with martial arts expertise, would fit right in.
So perhaps the self-employed plumbing business wasn’t quite as lucrative as riding shotgun for Jake? It explains why Rees Mogg looked so calm and unflappable when he walked over to reason with the UWE protestors - he knew someone had his back. The problem he has now is that Paul Townsley clearly had anger management issues, and by lashing out and identifying himself, he has confirmed that the MP was lying.
Jacob Rees Mogg must now come clean and spell out exactly what he knows about the white shirted assailant. Because if he doesn’t, we will find out.