War in Ukraine has let the Tories “get away” with the Partygate scandal, Jacob Rees-Mogg has admitted.
According to the Independent, Rees-Mogg described the affair which engulfed Boris Johnson’s government as “fundamentally trivial” and “fluff” – claiming the “seriousness” of Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine made it look like “nonsense”.
It comes as a major Tory donor said the scandal had been “blown out of proportion quite frankly”.
Lord Cruddas told LBC: ”I support Boris, I think he’s done a brilliant job. He delivered Brexit, he delivered the vaccine programme. I like to look on the positives and not on the negatives.
“I back Boris and guess what, I sent the party £250,000 six weeks ago right at the height of partygate to support the party and to support Boris.
“I think we should be grateful to Boris, the way he brought the vaccines into this country and the way he delivered Brexit, and I’m behind him all the way.”
‘Getting away from the wokery’
Appearing at a fringe event at Conservative Spring Conference in Blackpool, Rees-Mogg said the Ukraine crisis had caused politics to be “recalibrated with a new seriousness”.
In a Q&A with the Conservative Home website, the newly-minted minister for Brexit Opportunities said Russia’s invasion “a reminder that the world is serious, and that there are serious things to be discussed and serious and difficult decisions for politicians to take, whether this is about reopening and having new licences for oil wells in the North Sea, or whether it is about getting away from the wokery that has beset huge sections of society.”
He continued: “All that nonsense is shown up for the trivial nature of it, and that we are now looking at serious difficult decisions that have to be made.
“I would say the same about Partygate. All of that is shown up for the disproportionate fluff of politics that it was, rather than something of fundamental seriousness about the safety of the world and about the established global order.”
He added: “When we look back in 36 years at Partygate, people will think `What were they on about? They were moving from Covid to Russia and Ukraine, yet they were distracted by whether or not the PM spent five minutes in his own garden. It’s fundamentally trivial.”
Rees-Mogg reportedly made a subsequent demand that the word “chairman” be used instead of “chairperson” – and said referring to Beijing rather than Peking was tantamount to “sucking up to a totalitarian regime”.
He then called for a literal public burning of “redundant” left-over laws from the European Union.
“I rather think we should take inspiration from the Restoration,” he said.
“It took a year to do this, but in 1661, the public executioner, I think in Old Palace Yard, took all the illegitimate acts of Cromwell and burned them publicly.
“How about that for the rules of the European Union?”
Responding to cheers from the crowd, Rees-Mogg added: “I take it that there would be a lot of applications for the post of public executioner.”