Jacob Rees-Mogg quizzed on gay parenting
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has insisted it is “wonderful news” that out Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is expecting a child – despite his own beliefs.
Rees-Mogg, who is considered a frontrunner in the next race for the Conservative Party leadership, has been a prominent opponent of LGBT equality, saying in 2013 that he chooses to be “whipped” by the Catholic Church rather than by his party on the issue.
The prominent backbench MP repeatedly criticised former Prime Minister David Cameron for introducing same-sex marriage, telling supporters: “I’m not proud that this government passed that into law.”
But Rees-Mogg struck a conciliatory tone when quizzed by Kay Burley of Sky News today about the pregnancy of Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who is expecting a baby with her wife-to-be Jen Wilson.
Asked if he had congratulated Davidson, Rees-Mogg admitted: “I meant to write to her, I haven’t yet done it. I think it’s wonderful news, absolutely joyous news.”
He added: “It’s wonderful, happy news, and a new life always is.”
Asked if that conflicts with his personal beliefs, he only answered: “New life is always good news.”
Pressed again, Rees-Mogg responded: “It doesn’t. You’re confusing things. The Catholic Church is always in favour of new life.
“There’s a new baby, this is wonderful news, a new soul… it’s terrific, there is no problem with that. You’re going back to what happened to create that new life, but that doesn’t matter.
“There is new life and that is of overwhelming importance and matter of great joy.”
The MP also compared Davidson’s statement to his own experiences of parenthood, saying: “I love the statement that was reported that was reported, where she said she couldn’t keep it secret because she wanted to tell everybody.
“It’s exactly what I felt when all my children have been on their way. There’s the period where you’re not allowed to say, under strict orders, and I always found that very hard. When Ruth Davidson said that, I thought, I know exactly what you mean.”
Davidson announced that she is pregnant with her first child on April 26.
“Our little family of three is becoming four…” Davidson wrote, sharing a picture with Wilson and their dog Winston.
In a statement, Davidson said that both her and her fiancée Jennifer Wilson were “overjoyed” to be expecting.
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She wrote: “Jen and I are delighted to announce that I am expecting our first child in the late Autumn.
“Like all new parents-to-be we are excited — and daunted — about the months to come. Mostly, we are just overjoyed at the prospect of starting a family together.”
She added: “I think it will change the way in which I do my job. But I don’t think it should look as if I’ve changed the way I do my job.
“Time management is going to have to be a little bit different.”
She added: “Let me reassure my constituents and voters across Scotland that there is no change to my political commitment or plans to lead the Scottish Conservatives into the 2021 Holyrood elections.
“I’m simply doing what thousands of working women do every year – having a child, taking some time off, and then returning to work soon after.”
The Conservative Party’s LGBT group, the LGBT+ Conservatives, previously branded Rees-Mogg a “disgrace” and shared a message that said “Retweet if you’re against Jacob Rees-Mogg as Prime Minister in any circumstances”.