The Mail on Sunday this weekend reported the story of the Conservatives’ deselection of a female candidate following a controversial interview conducted when she was eight months pregnant. The row prompted a scathing letter to Tory top brass from her furious brother, Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg. Political Scrapbook has obtained a full copy of this correspondence, which is reproduced below.
Failing to beat Lib Dem David Heath in a seat neighbouring her brother’s, Annunziata Rees-Mogg was one of the ill-fated Tatler Tory A-listers who did not make it to Westminster in 2010. In a letter to the chairman of the Conservatives’ backbench 1922 Committee (copied to MPs on the board of the party, the chief whip and David Cameron’s chief of staff) the Tory toff raged against comments made regarding his sister’s pregnancy by the party’s head of human resources:
“The attitude of Central Office is shameful … It was also suggested that Annunciata could have ticked the box for ‘disability’ but I feel most reasonable people would call that a contemptible suggestion.”
The note also lays a number of other frank criticisms at the door of CCHQ:
- Jacob Rees-Mogg accuses paid regional organisers in his own patch for using his sister as a scapegoat for their own poor performance.
- Party officials sent junior “sidekicks” to meetings with Annunziata.
- The selection process is described as “illogical” and “arbitrary”.
- It is claimed the process denies “standard data protection rights”.
- “the Candidates’ department has behaved with generally poor manners”.
Scrapbook can only hope Jacob Rees-Mogg pursues the grievances of his constituents with equal vigour.