Jacob Rees-Mogg met Steve Bannon to discuss US-UK politics
From The Guardian: Jacob Rees-Mogg had a private meeting with former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon in London on Thursday to talk about how conservative movements can win in the US and UK, the Guardian has learned.
Rees-Mogg, a favourite among Conservative members to be the next party leader, spent more than an hour at the meeting in a Mayfair hotel with Bannon, who was at one point seen as Trump’s most influential adviser.
The American also met Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader, and another Conservative MP during a short trip to the UK.
The meetings took place on the day of the diplomatic spat between Trump and Theresa May, after the US president retweeted anti-Muslim material from the far-right fringe group Britain First.
Rees-Mogg confirmed the encounter, saying Bannon was “an interesting man to have met” and they talked about US and UK politics. Farage also confirmed he had met Bannon, who is a friend.
Bannon, who describes himself as a populist and economic nationalist, was forced out of the White House in August. He then rejoined the rightwing news website Breitbart as executive chairman, but he remains in close contact with Trump.
The meetings were brokered by Raheem Kassam, the Breitbart London editor and former chief of staff to Farage. Kassam defended Trump over the retweets on Thursday and criticised Downing Street for “flushing the UK’s relationship with the US down the toilet to virtue-signal over a couple of tweets”.
Rees-Mogg’s “Moggmentum” followers have attracted comparisons with the US Tea Party as they champion rightwing ideas, grassroots activism and shaking up the conservative establishment.
The Tory MP has previously expressed support for Trump but backtracked on that before the presidential election. In mid-September last year, he said that he would “almost certainly vote for Trump if I was American”. However, a month later, Rees-Mogg said he felt he could not vote for either candidate.