When Boris Johnson rode a zip wire holding two Union flags as London mayor, it broke down and left him dangling in mid-air for several minutes.
It didn’t do his career any harm, though, as his current position shows.
It remains to be seen whether a ride on a zip wire will similarly prove to be a landmark on the way to 10 Downing Street for Jacob Rees-Mogg.
But things certainly went a lot more smoothly for the Commons Leader yesterday when he took a break from political meetings to try one out during a visit to Zip World in North Wales, holding both the national and Welsh flags.
Asked if the stunt suggested he was aspiring to Number 10, the MP, who also visited a whisky distillery, said: ‘God, no. I want the PM to carry on being PM because he’s great at it.
‘There are very, very few PMs of the first rank, and when you have one of the first rank, you want to hold on to him or her.’
Jacob Rees-Mogg took a break from political meetings to try one out during a visit to Zip World in North Wales, holding both the national and Welsh flags
Mr Rees-Mogg’s supportive comments for the PM came after he wrote a newspaper piece indicating that voters would remember Mr Johnson’s broken manifesto promises on tax.
Yesterday, he fired off a further warning about higher taxes, saying that ‘higher levels of expenditure’ could not continue and taxes could not be put up indefinitely.
Asked whether it was the right decision to end a boost to Universal Credit, which is due to take effect later this month, he said: ‘Yes, it was a temporary measure that provided £9 billion of extra support to people through the pandemic, but it’s right that we get back to normal.
‘The Government does not have unlimited taxpayers’ money and all the money the Government spends is taxpayers’ money that is either paid for in taxes this year or paid in taxes by future generations to repay borrowing, and therefore we can’t go on with higher levels of expenditure.’
He added of the cost: ‘It is very hard to see how that would be affordable: what would you cut to find that £6 billion?’
Asked whether it could be paid for by further tax rises, he said: ‘You can’t put taxes up indefinitely.’
When Boris Johnson rode a zip wire holding two Union flags as London mayor in 2012, it broke down and left him dangling in mid-air for several minutes
The stunt didn’t do Mr Johnson any harm, but it remains to be seen if a ride on a zip wire will be a landmark on the way to 10 Downing Street for Jacob Rees-Mogg (pcitured)
Asked if the stunt suggested he was aspiring to Number 10, the MP, who also visited a whisky distillery, said: ‘God, no. I want the PM to carry on being PM’
Asked whether he was convinced by ministers’ insistence that there would be no future tax rises, he said: ‘That’s a matter for the Chancellor and his Budgets.’
Attending a meeting of local Conservatives on Thursday during his trip to Wales, Mr Rees-Mogg was asked whether his comments had prompted talk of a Cabinet reshuffle.
‘Inevitably, as a minister, I am supporting the Government, but my great support is for Boris Johnson. I feel lucky to have an extremely charismatic and capable leader,’ he said.
‘I do not see any other potential leader who could have won the last election and delivered Brexit. And I support him fully and I think that’s really important.’
The Cabinet minister also acknowledged to Welsh hill farmers that future trade deals would affect them.
He said: ‘I think using the example of Australia is I hope reassuring because yes, their market access will increase but it won’t increase overnight it will increase over a staged period.’
Mr Rees-Mogg agreed with the farmers that the country should be trying to get back to the office as the pandemic eases.
‘I did talk to some of the farmers about getting back to work and they think people should be getting back because they’ve worked throughout and have been getting up at 4.30am,’ he said.
‘You can’t shear a sheep on Zoom, can you? You certainly can’t round up a pony on Zoom.
‘They realise how important people getting back to work is. You saw it in the House of Commons last week: completely different atmosphere, properly holding the Government to account, genuine debate.’
He added: ‘I think if you were an ambitious young civil servant, you would want to be in your office because you then make a name for yourself.’
He also insisted that Brexit had brought the United Kingdom closer together, adding: ‘I think it does, because the logic of the UK becomes much stronger.
‘I think the value of the United Kingdom is very clear and it has become clearer since we left the European Union. Things like the vaccine programme which would not have happened in the same way.’