Rees-Mogg tells young Tories he wants to ‘build a wall in the English Channel’ – The Guardian

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Jacob Rees-Mogg has said he wants to “build a wall in the English Channel” in a leaked recording, in which he heaped praise on Donald Trump and the hardline Republican response to immigration.

Speaking to young Conservative activists, Rees-Mogg doubled down on his backing for the former US president, saying he took the right approach by building a border wall.

“If I were American I’d want the border closed, I’d be all in favour of building a wall. I’d want to build a wall in the middle of the English Channel,” the former cabinet minister said.

Rees-Mogg is fighting a strong Labour challenge in his North East Somerset and Hanham constituency against Dan Norris, the mayor of the West of England, who was previously MP in the seat until he was defeated by Rees-Mogg in 2010.

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Rees-Mogg, a popular figure among Tory party members, is likely to be influential in the Conservative leadership race if he retains his seat. Support for Trump’s White House bid is a sharp divider within the party between the right and the centrist One Nation group.

Those who have given public backing to the former president, who has been convicted on 34 felony counts, include the Conservative former prime ministers Liz Truss and Boris Johnson, who said Trump’s return would be a “big win for the world”, and the former MPs Andrea Jenkyns and Jake Berry.

In January 2024, Jenkyns said: “We’d be a safer place if Trump came back.”; Berry told ITV the US should “bring him back”.

Speaking before a pub crawl in March organised by a Young Conservative group, Rees-Mogg said: “Every so often, I slightly peek over the parapet, like that image from the second world war of the man looking over the wall, and say if I were an American, I would vote for Donald Trump and it’s always the most unpopular thing I ever say in British politics, but I’m afraid it’s true. I would definitely vote for Donald Trump against Joe Biden.”

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In the recording, Rees-Mogg claimed Biden “doesn’t like Britain” and said that was his biggest concern going into the election. “That’s … much more important for me than whether somebody closes the border between the US and Mexico … I want Trump to succeed as he looks like the candidate. And one does to some degree worry about the mental acuity of President Biden.”

The Reform UK leader, Nigel Farage, has also been a champion of Trump, appearing at multiple rallies in the US and suggesting he wants to mirror the Republican candidate’s success in mounting a takeover of the right.

At a rally on Sunday, Farage said he would “make Britain great again” in an echo of the former US president’s slogan. He has previously said Trump “learned a lot” from the provocative speeches he himself made during his years in Brussels.

Rees-Mogg did not respond to a request for comment.

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