It’s been a fruitful year in every sense for Jacob Rees-Mogg. At 48, the self- described “loyal son” of the Catholic Church became a father for the sixth time to “the gloriously named” Sixtus Dominic Boniface Christopher, says the National Review. And bookies now have him as second favourite to replace Theresa May, behind cabinet minister David Davis, buoyed by an army of Tory grassroots supporters. In typical self-deprecatory style – a mask, some say, for a steeliness of purpose – Rees-Mogg tells the Daily Express: “It’s flattering… but I wouldn’t advise your readers to invest with the bookmakers… There are better ways of making their money work”.
He should know, says The Sunday Times. “The Honourable Member for the 18th century” is thought to have collected more than £1m in dividends this year from Somerset Capital Management, the investment house he cofounded in 2007 (and of which he still owns at least 15%); and at least £4m (on top of his salary) since being elected to Parliament in 2010. “I am fortunate to have a private income,” he says. But then he’s spent a lifetime honing his skills, says the National Review. At 11, “he reportedly turned a £50 inheritance into £3,500” in the stockmarket. Soon after, he began agitating at the annual meetings of GEC and Lonrho.
Yet “despite later portrayals”, Rees-Mogg “never thought of his youthful investments as the pastime of a rich, dilettantish boy”, says The Spectator. He comes from a family steeped in commerce. Although his father, William, was a renowned former editor of The Times, the family fortune derives from coal mining in Somerset. And after graduating from Oxford, Rees-Mogg spent 15 years as an investment manager: first at Rothschild, and then for Lloyd George Management in Hong Kong.
He began his political career heading the University Conservative Association, then stood for parliament twice before finally being elected MP for North East Somerset in 2010. He first became “a figure of intrigue (and not a little amusement)” in 1997 when he canvassed a working-class area in Fife with his nanny, says The Spectator, and his warmth and humour have made him popular in the House, even with opponents, says Matthew Parris in The Times. But don’t fall for the “nonsense about nannies and double-breasted pyjamas”. The “semi-ironic” fan clubs (Moggmentum, the Jacob Rees-Mogg Appreciation Society) are a “serious social media movement”.
With tens of thousands of supporters, Rees-Mogg is now “the principle bidder for the moral and ideological leadership of the younger generation of the Tory right” – although his “reactionary” opinions are “poison” to many in the party. “Whatever his political future, it is safe to assume he will be keeping a weather eye on the markets for many years to come, if only to manage the Mogg millions,” notes The Spectator. According to some reports, when his wife Helena comes into her own family fortune (derived from her mother’s Fitzwilliam family), Rees-Mogg will be worth as much as £150m.