Jacob Rees-Mogg is 'the chosen one' by Tory members in the Fens as they welcome him at theatre
PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:06 14 February 2020
He's an Old Etonian, a multi-millionaire, prone to political gaffes, and described by one commentator as being "on indefinite secondment from the mid-18th century".
But among the grassroots of the Conservative Party Jacob Rees-Mogg, who remains as leader of the House of Commons following yesterday's cabinet reshuffle, is as popular as ever.
None more so than in Wisbech, and it was where he came last night at the invitation of NE Cambs MP - and newly appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury- Steve Barclay.
The occasion was to celebrate Mr Barclay's near 30,000 election majority and so was restricted, of course, to the party faithful.
But the choice of Jacob - who had been pictured earlier in the day arriving at 10 Downing Street with Mr Barclay - was in response to an informal poll of the Brexit lovingT ory supporters here in the Fens. Asked by their MP who'd they most like to pay a visit, the pendulum of choice pointed firmly to Jacob.
And so, it came to pass that on Thursday night, the NE Somerset MP was welcomed to the Angles, Wisbech, to meet and greet fellow card-carrying members of the Conservative Party from across NE Cambs.
Whilst the event was held in private, Mr Rees-Mogg chatted to our photographer, briefly, on the way in through, curiously, the side door.
"Your flash is extremely bright in the dark," he remarked.
"Have a good night" came the polite, dutiful response of our snapper.
"You, too, have a good night young man," replied Jacob as he walked into what we can only speculate was a rapturous welcome.
And apart from a cursory chat with his chauffeur ('it has a V8 engine that gets us out of trouble quickly' he quipped) our photographer slipped away.
Mr Barclay arrived on foot at 8.28pm and went through the front door.
Mr Rees-Mogg arrived at 8.55pm and left, together with other guests, sometime after midnight.
In true Michael Parkinson style, we know he chatted informally with his host on the Angles stage. And we know, because of photos posted on social media, he was available for selfies afterwards with local councillors and other Tory luminaries. The following morning Mr Barclay tweeted his thanks to Jacob who "gave a full house at the Angles a fascinating insight into the big political issues for the new Government".
Elsewhere on Twitter the mood was less sanguine as news of his visit began to circulate.
"Hasn't Wisbech suffered enough?" was the reflection on Twitter of 'Neil still a socialist' of Cambourne to his 805 followers.