The 2019 General Election has barely started and we already have our first major gaffe. Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC, Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees Mogg said of the report into Grenfell Tower fire:
The tragedy came about because of the cladding, leading to the fire racing up the building and then was compounded by the stay-put policy and it seems to me that is the tragedy of it. The more one’s read over the weekend about the report and about the chances of people surviving, if you just ignore what you’re told and leave you are so much safer. And I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building. It just seems the common sense thing to do. And it is such a tragedy that that didn’t happen.
It’s not good. At all. I don’t quite buy into the hysteria that Rees-Mogg was saying those in the building lacked common sense. Actually, a senior Cabinet minister is recommending the public disregard the advice of the emergency services – advice designed to stop stampedes and give firefighters better access. That is arguably a lot more serious than being a bit of a snob.
As The Times’ Henry Zefferman noted, it’s hardly the first time the Commons’ leader has made a gaffe.
It was one with when Jacob Rees-Mogg was a slightly quirky backbencher, but now he is a senior member of the government. He is becoming a liability for Boris Johnson. Wonder if he will do an Oliver Letwin and disappear for the rest of the campaign.
My first book "Not Buying It", looking at post-truth in media and politics, is being published by Unbound
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