Former Brexit minister Jacob Rees-Mogg loses North East Somerset seat to Labour

Arch-Brexiteer Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg has lost his North East Somerset seat, becoming one of more than half a dozen Tory big beasts to fail in their re-election bids.

The former minister for Brexit opportunities lost to Labour’s Dan Norris, who won with 20,739 votes. Sir Jacob took 15,420, while Reform UK took 7,424, the Liberal Democrats 3,878, and the Greens 3,222.

Sir Jacob, who was knighted last year, is among a number of senior Conservatives to have lost their seats, including Grant Shapps, Penny Mordaunt, and Johnny Mercer.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg was beaten by some 5,000 votes (PA)
Jacob Rees-Mogg was beaten by some 5,000 votes (PA)

Sir Jacob congratulated Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on “what seems to be a historic victory”.

Speaking at the University of Bath after the result was declared, Sir Jacob said: “May I begin by giving my warmest congratulations to Dan Norris, who has been a servant of North East Somerset – or Wansdyke as it then was – before, and I am sure will be a devoted constituency MP in the future.

“And congratulate Sir Keir Starmer, who has led his party to what seems to be a historic victory. And this is the great virtue of our democracy, so I congratulate both of them.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Sir Jacob then thanked his agent, campaign director and constituency staff, who he said had “worked so hard over the last 14 years”.

He said: “And one final thought, from Caractacus Potts, and that is ‘From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success.’ So thank you very much, everybody, and good night.”

Dan Norris, the new MP for the North East Somerset and Hanham constituency, said he had “got Mogg-xit done” after defeating Sir Jacob.

He said: “It’s a great honour to serve the people of Keynsham, North East Somerset, Hanham and surrounding areas. This is my home. I’m deeply proud of all our communities and want our part of the world to be the best it can be.

The former MP speaks to his son Peter after losing his seat (PA)
The former MP speaks to his son Peter after losing his seat (PA)

“Keir Starmer changed the Labour Party, and he will now change the country for the better. This is a victory for integrity: no more ‘one more rule for them, another for everyone else’.

“It’s a victory for stability: never forget the economic chaos for which the British people are still paying the price. Now let’s get to work.”

Sir Jacob was all smiles as he arrived at the count at Bath University at 2.30am, dressed in a dark suit with a blue rosette pinned to his lapel.

He was accompanied by his son, Peter, also dressed in a suit, and his wife Helena, as he walked through to the count area.

He arrived carrying a bag of sandwiches, which he said included “ham and tongue”, and said he was “extremely well”.

He was asked about the state of the Conservative Party, and replied: “Aha. That’s a very good question.”

Sir Jacob then greeted photographers and camera crews, saying: “What a reception party. Anyone would think there’s an election on.”

Rees-Mogg listens to the results of the count for his North East Somerset and Hanham seat alongside other candidates (PA)
Rees-Mogg listens to the results of the count for his North East Somerset and Hanham seat alongside other candidates (PA)

The dramatic result came just days after the divisive Sir Jacob said he wanted to build a wall in the middle of the English Channel and questioned the mental acuity of US president Joe Biden.

Sir Jacob told young Tory activists that he would vote for former US president Donald Trump if he could, and that Mr Trump had been right in his quest to build a wall along the border with Mexico.

In a leaked recording obtained by The Guardian, he said: “If I were American, I’d want the border closed, I’d be all in favour of building a wall. I’d want to build a wall in the middle of the English Channel.”

Sir Jacob started his career working for a hedge fund in the City before unsuccessfully standing in the 1997 and 2001 elections. However, he was victorious in 2010 and held the North East Somerset seat until now.

The former minister quickly garnered a reputation as a rebel by voting against legislation proposed by David Cameron, and became well known for some of his more unusual behaviour, such as going canvassing with his family’s nanny.

He campaigned for Britain to leave the EU in the Brexit referendum in 2016, and is a known ally of Boris Johnson, who appointed him leader of the House of Commons in 2019.

As well as being an MP, Sir Jacob has previously hosted a show on GB News.

Broadcasting regulatory body Ofcom found that two episodes of his show had violated impartiality rules by way of his “acting as a newsreader” while being a serving politician.

Sir Jacob was judged by Ofcom to have breached the broadcasting rules as he provided an update about the fatal stabbings in Nottingham on 13 June, the same day as they took place.

The watchdog said this meant he had “presented” a news story directly to viewers, after the programme received five complaints.

Defending himself against the ruling, Sir Jacob told Times Radio: “It is a barmy decision from Ofcom. I was talking about a stabbing – how can there be due impartiality? We know stabbing is bad. Would they get the stabber on there to argue why it wasn’t bad? It is an eccentric decision.”

He has also been a regular critic of green policies and has called for them to be scrapped.

“What works is getting rid of unpopular, expensive green policies, and that is a real opportunity for us,” he told GB News.

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