Jacob Rees-Mogg’s handwritten resignation letter harks back to 1800s

Jacob Rees-Mogg clashes with Richard Graham over Brexit

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On Tuesday, October 25, Jacob Rees-Mogg resigned as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy following Rishi Sunak becoming the third Prime Minister the UK has seen this year. The North East Somerset MP had previously announced his support for former Prime Minister Boris Johnson to once again take office. Unlike most other MPs, Mr Rees-Mogg resigned by sending the new Conservative Party leader a handwritten letter. Express.co.uk takes a look at the former Cabinet members’ traditionalist quirks. 

Not only did Mr Rees-Mogg – who is a loyal Roman Catholic – pen his resignation letter himself, he dated it “Saint Crispin’s Day”, also known as the Feast of Saint Crispin, which falls on October 25. 

In the Christian calendar, Saint Crispin’s Day is a feast day, commemorating the patron saints of shoemakers, Crispin and Crispinian, two brothers who were beheaded by the emperor Maximian in the 8th century. 

A reference is made to the day in William Shakespeare’s play, Henry V, during the King’s speech, given on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt which took place on Saint Crispin’s Day in 1415. 

In his letter, Mr Rees-Mogg – who is well versed in the British constitution – also requests that King Charles III is alerted to his resignation. 

He wrote: “As you will rightly want your own team I would be grateful if you could convey my resignation as secretary for business, energy and industrial strategy to the King.” 

While the King has prerogative powers, enabling him to appoint or dismiss both ministers and Prime Ministers, these have not been enacted in quite some time. 

The last time a Parliament was dissolved by the Monarch against the advice of the Prime Minister in the UK was in 1910, and in 1834 the Monarch – then William IV – was the last sovereign to dismiss a government. 

Mr Rees-Mogg’s scrupulous attention to traditional detail dates back further. In 2019, it emerged that the Conservative MP set language rules for his staff. 

According to ITV news, the guidance was drawn up years before. However, it was not until he became leader of the House of Commons three years ago that his rigorous stipulations emerged. 

His staff was barred from using words such as “lot”, “got” and the phrase “I am pleased to learn”. “Very”, “due to”, “ongoing”, “equal”, “yourself” and “unacceptable” were also off the cards. 

Mr Rees-Mogg’s team were also told to “check their work”, with “check” emphasised in capital letters, as well as to reduce the amount of “Is” they used in their work. 

At the beginning of his political career, when he ran as the Conservative candidate for Central Fife in 1997, the then 27-year-old Mr Rees-Mogg took his family’s nanny with him on the campaign trail. 

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The Etonian drove his mother’s Mercedes Benz while canvassing and confirmed in 2013 that he had taken the family nanny, Veronica Crook, along for the ride. He said: “Of course she came canvassing, she’s part of the family after all. She’s been with us for 47 years.”

Mr Rees-Mogg is known for his eccentrism and double-breasted suits, but on occasion, his views have caused controversy such as his opposition to abortion in all circumstances. 

However, he told the BBC in 2018 that he would not change the law in a bid to push his moral views on people. He said:  “You should put my moral views to one side. They are not the mainstream of British politics or the Conservative Party and I don’t think anybody putting those views forward would carry a majority in the country…

“I don’t wish to change the law to enforce my moral views on people. But it would be absurd to pretend my Catholicism doesn’t influence my view of the world.”

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