Emily Maitlis skewered by Jacob Rees-Mogg at PopCon conference | Politics | News

Emily Maitlis was left shocked after Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg brushed aside her question at a post-election conservative conference before repeatedly giving her the “cold shoulder”.

The former BBC Newsnight presenter approached the recently deposed North East Somerset MP after he spoke at Tuesday’s Popular Conservatism conference.

The event, entitled “Beginning to Rebuild”, was designed to look at why the Tories lost the July 4 General Election and how they can bounce back from a humiliating drubbing.

In his speech, Sir Jacob warned that the party could be out of power for 30 years but called for humility rather than despair.

He quipped that the Tories lost because they were neither popular nor conservative, but quoted the famous line from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: “From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success.”

Now fronting The News Agents podcast, Maitlis pointedly asked the former business secretary: “Why do you think the lesson of this election is to move further to the Right if the electorate has just told you they prefer the parties of the Left?”

Sir Jacob’s reply was brief and to the point: “The parties of the Right got 11million votes. I think you’re ignoring that.”

When the presenter tried to ask a follow up question, he shot back and 11-word reply: “I have answered the question, you just didn’t like the answer.”

On a video clip posted on The News Agents’ X feed, Sir Jacob repeatedly refused to take further questions from Maitlis and instead answered questions from other journalists who had been “waiting patiently”.

At the end of the tense exchange, Maitlis described the conversation as “extraordinary”.

In a piece to camera, she added: “Jacob Rees-Mogg is visibly, usually, scrupulously polite.

“But today he was having very little of it. He didn’t want to answer questions about the ideology of the party, about why he felt it was important to take his party further to the Right given the message the electorate has just sent the Conservatives.

“He was very keen not to answer a single question today from The News Agents.”

On the podcast later, she went on to say: “I can’t tell you how odd that is, because Jacob Rees-Mogg is never normally one short of a moment to spend talking to journalists.

“There was a real reluctance to engage with me today, which I found just very odd, very curious.”

On X, The News Agents podcast said the “usually talkative Jacob Rees-Mogg gives @maitlis the cold shoulder at a PopCon event”.

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