Jacob Rees-Mogg says he doesn’t mind being called ‘Tory scum’ by protesters
The Independent

Another day, another contentious media round conducted by a Government minister.

After Tuesday’s car-crash tour by Therese Coffey, today it fell to Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg to counter the Deputy PM's regularly professed ignorance by dishing out the most verbose and impenetrable answers possible.

But it wasn’t simply the MP’s overly technical and obscure responses that enraged listeners this morning, many found his approach to BBC Radio 4’s Mishal Husain condescending and even threatening.

After repeatedly “mansplaining” and “patronising” the Today presenter, he then accused her of “jumping to conclusions” and failing to “[meet] the BBC requirement for impartiality.”

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The offending allegation came when Husain asked whether the Government might bring forward its next fiscal statement to address the economic crisis sparked by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s so-called mini-budget.

“Hold on, you suggest something is causal, which is a speculation,” the Business Secretary responded, suggesting that the current instability in pension funds was “not necessarily” to do with Kwarteng’s uncosted financial plans.

“It could just as easily be the fact that, the day before, the Bank of England did not raise interest rates as much as the Federal Reserve did,” he continued.

“And I think jumping to conclusions about causality is not meeting the BBC’s requirement for impartiality. It is a commentary rather than a factual question.”

Earlier during the tense interview, Rees-Mogg repeatedly insisted that the Government’s newly announced windfall tax on low-carbon energy firms was not, in fact, a windfall tax and that he didn’t understand why anyone would view it as such.

Asked by Husain: “Can you see why this new policy that you’re introducing will be seen as an effective windfall tax?” he replied: “No I can’t,” followed by a pregnant pause.

“It identifies windfalls and dips into them,” the interviewer explained.

“No it doesn’t,” he hit back, adding: “That’s simply mischaracterising what’s being done and misunderstands how the markets work.” He then criticised analysis from the BBC’s Business Editor Simon Jack, saying it “was a very inaccurate way of looking at the situation,” before launching into a lengthy and heavily technical explanation of what has happened in the renewable markets over recent years.

To be clear, ministers have so far kept their lips pretty well-sealed over the new energy plans, but it is expected that renewable generators and nuclear power plants will have their revenues capped to ensure they are not benefitting from record-high energy prices.

However, the Government has said that it would try to break the link between high gas prices and the amount made by electricity producers.

Look at the headlines this morning, and you’ll struggle to avoid the words “windfall” and “tax”.

Later during the terse discussion, Rees-Mogg explained to Husain that the Government “doesn’t have to give votes” to MPs when she suggested that they didn’t have a say on its fracking plans.

“There are any number of mechanisms that MPs can use to have a say on things,” he told the highly-experienced journalist. “The Government doesn’t have to give votes. There are backbench business debates, there are opposition day debates, there are amendments.”

“Just read Erskin May and you’ll find out how people can raise this in the House of Commons,” he added, referring to the guide to parliamentary practice, in what many viewed as an insufferably patronising retort.

Rees-Mogg is no stranger to pushing people’s buttons, but his performance drew ire from the Twittersphere.

Here’s what commentators had to say about the high-profile Tory’s display:

The question now begs to be asked, what will the Government have in store for us tomorrow morning...

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