Jacob Rees-Mogg steps up his war on civil servants working from home

Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

“You need people in the office to deliver services, and I think we’ve found there have been poor public services from people working from home.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg has launched a new attack on working from home – branding it “second best.”

Speaking to GB News, Mr Rees-Mogg said the public were being failed by the fact many services were being provided by home-workers.

And the former Leader of the House of Commons said he has no regrets about his now infamous decision to leave cards on the desks of absent civil-servants. 

He told Gloria De Piero: “I am very concerned that public services are not being delivered properly because people aren’t at work. We know that from the DVLA, we know that from the Passport Office. You need people in the office to deliver services, and I think we’ve found there have been poor public services from people working from home.

“You’ve seen a GP working in Cornwall only seeing people on Zoom a couple hundred miles away. That is not a satisfactory service for the British people, who are paying the highest taxes in 70 years. The public sector needs to be delivering proper services. And it needs to be in work.”

On whether he felt there was a role for hybrid working arrangements he said: “There definitely is. There are some roles that are very well suited to working from home. But providing a direct service to the public probably requires you to be in the office.

“Look, I was the leader in the House of Commons that introduced remote sessions for the House of Commons – not because I wanted us to move to being a remote Parliament, but because Parliament had to carry on sitting, and the choice was whether we have a long recess and not hold the Government to account, or we do it on Zoom. I was really keen that we should have Parliament meeting.

“During the pandemic in the Houses of Parliament, who was there? The cleaners were there, the security guards were there, and not many other people. So, the lowest paid were the ones – if you thought that it was a big risk travelling, which people did initially – who were taking the risk, and who were having to go in. 

“The people who were rather better off, a little more comfortable, were the ones sitting at home. Some worked very well, not everybody did.

“If you can’t get into work for some reason – whether it’s a rail strike, the snow, or a pandemic – that’s different. But as a matter of routine: it’s second best. Best is being in the office.”

As part of his anti-WFH crusade, Mr Rees Mogg left cards on desks saying: ‘I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon’.

Pressed on whether he now felt those cards were intimidating he insisted: “No, not at all. I only put out three of them. We had a Freedom of Information request saying: ‘How much money did he spend on this campaign?’ – it turned out it was under a pound. But it was making a point.”

According to some reports, Mr Rees-Mogg, who has served as the MP for North East Somerset since 2010, now faces a battle to hold on to his seat at the next election. But he has no plans to step down. 

“I think that’s all the more reason to stand again and see if I can turn it round,” he said.

Reflecting on the final few days of Liz Truss, whose premiership he backed, he said: “I thought reversing the 45% rate was going to make it very difficult to hold things together. I didn’t think it would go quite as quickly as it did. But once we got to the ‘Has the Chief Whip resigned or not resigned?’, then that was clearly all over, that was very much curtains.

“It didn’t work, I wish it had worked, but it didn’t. We might as well be realistic about that.”

During his GB News interview, which will be broadcast on Sunday, Mr Rees Mogg, a devout Catholic, also admitted to being shocked by recent reports that 10,000 people a year in Canada are now opting to end their lives via euthanasia. 

“This is quite terrifying,” he says, adding that he indicates a “lack of concern and value for life.”

Opening up on his childhood he said he was so happy at being raised by family nanny, Veronica Crook, she now cares for his own children.

“She’s looking after my children, he said. “So, she’s still very much around.”

“I enjoy everything I do,” he continued as he reflected on his new life outside Cabinet.

“I find life is enjoyable. I’ve got a wife and six children – family life is fabulous, it’s great fun, and children are so funny. The bigger ones become more fully formed and the little ones lark about.”

Mr Rees-Mogg, a notoriously smart dresser, was also asked whether he owned a pair of jeans or jogging bottoms. 

“Of course I don’t,” he laughed. “What would I do with them?”

The full interview will be broadcast on Sunday at 6pm on Gloria Meets on GB News. 


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