The country might have been spared Jacob Rees-Mogg if it wasn’t for a multimillionaire who billed the public for swimming pool maintenance, we learn today.
Rees-Mogg told the Conservative Home website’s ‘Moggcast‘ how close he came to not being selected to stand in North East Somerset at the 2010 general election.
Asked whether he’d met any resistance from Tory HQ during the selection process, he said:
“My agent was told before the final selection round that she could have any candidate she liked as long as his name wasn’t Rees Mogg…or her name.
“Central office was very keen to stop me being selected at every stage.”
But he revealed:
“Fortunately, Michael Ancram was the MP sitting in on the sift in central office and when they were saying to our association ‘you can’t have Jacob Rees-Mogg’ and they said ‘oh yes we can’, Michael Ancram came down on their side and that’s how I got through in the first place.”
Ancram is a former deputy leader of the Tory party who stood down from Parliament in 2010 after being caught out in the expenses scandal.
It was revealed in 2009 that he had claimed more than £14,000 in expenses despite sitting on a personal fortune of £27 million at the time.
The most galling of his claims was £98.58 for a repair of the boiler that heated the swimming pool at his country house. He said that was an oversight and paid back the money.
But he stood by the rest of the claims, insisting: “None of the other items were extravagant or luxurious.”
They included a £1,117.43 bill for “clearing up moss” in his garden, along with claims for pest control, servicing of his Aga oven and a boiler repair at a cottage used by his housekeeper.
The door of history turns on these small taxpayer-funded hinges…