I've met Jacob Rees-Mogg a few times, usually when giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee. I admit I have little regard for him. I strongly suspect that the feeling is mutual from the exchanges we have had.
Frankly what Rees-Mogg thinks of me is neither here or there. I am also sure he is quite indifferent to my opinion. But as a country we cannot ignore Rees-Mogg. He might suggest that stories that a majority of Tory members want him as leader as 'silly season' tittle-tattle but the fact is that the surveys have some credibility. They originate from Conservative Home, which does appear to reasonably accurately reflect such thinking.
Rees-Mogg is, however, not some kind of joke, as Boris Johnson also appeared to be once upon a while. He is an earnestly serious politician intent on advancing his views, which are utterly alien to those of most people in the UK. I respect his right to oppose gay marriage and abortion. I think he is utterly wrong on both counts, as I do think the Roman Catholic faith has called these issues incorrectly. But I do not now think it appropriate (which is something different from a right) for a person holding such views to seek high office, or candidly, ministerial office in the UK, when they are so deeply antagonistic to the human rights of a majority of people in this country.
Politics is about expressing opinion, of course. But political office is different. Political office is about acting in the best interest of all, and not in the interest of a section of society. Those who successfully hold public office show that they are sensitive to the greater demands that responsibility to all requires of them. Rees-Mogg has clearly indicated he is unable to accept that responsibility and as such is not suited to any ministerial office.