Over the summer, Jacob Rees-Mogg has gone from being an eccentric backbencher to someone who is seen as a possible future leader of the Conservative party. Whether he ever becomes Tory leader - or even considers going for it – is still up for debate, but his rise to prominence with so-called “Moggmentum” has put him firmly in the spotlight.
On Wednesday, he appeared on ITV's Good Morning Britain, saying he is “completely opposed to abortion”, and followed the teachings of the Catholic Church on same-sex marriage, calling it a sacrament and refusing to say if he supported it.
When asked if he believed that gay sex was a sin, he refused to give a clear answer saying that, “…on the issue of sin, it is quite clearly under the teachings of the church not for me to judge.”
He even said he opposed abortion in the extreme case of a woman becoming pregnant through rape.
How do his views compare to the British public's?
The British Social Attitudes Survey of 2015 found that 60% of the UK adult public support same-sex marriage while 19% of said that same-sex couples should not have the right to marry. The survey found that the figure in support of same-sex marriage was up from the 47% in favour back in 2007. Rees-Mogg’s views are clearly at odds with the wider British public, but when it came to Conservative voters at the time, his views are more in touch with them: only 49% of Conservatives said they favoured same-sex marriage.
A slightly older 2013 YouGov/Sunday Times poll found that 48% of voters who intended to vote Conservative opposed same-sex marriage, slightly ahead of the 45% who supported the idea. It also found that 50% of those who voted Tory in 2010 opposed the idea at the time, and that 54% all respondents supported same-sex marriage, well ahead of the 36% in disagreement.
Rees-Mogg is therefore out of tune with the British public when it comes to same-sex marriage, but he clearly appeals to a significant minority of Conservative voters.
Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis.— Jacob Rees-Mogg (@Jacob_Rees_Mogg) July 15, 2017
As for abortion, Jacob Rees-Mogg says that life begins at conception. A YouGov/University of Lancaster poll from 2013 found that 44% of the UK public agreed with him on that particular stance. A further 30% said life begins at some point during pregnancy while another 17% said it began at birth.
However, poll respondents were then asked, “Leaving aside medical emergencies, which of these options do you favour?”
The most popular response, picked by 40% of the voters, was to keep the abortion limit at 24 weeks while 6% favoured increasing it to more than 24 weeks. In contrast, 28% favoured reducing the limit to 24 weeks.
Moreover, just 7% said they favoured banning abortions altogether.
With Rees-Mogg calling abortions "morally indefensible", he is clearly very out of touch with the UK public on this particular issue.