Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps blasts Jacob Rees-Mogg's 'shocking' moral stance on abortion
PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:54 08 September 2017
Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has attacked fellow Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg's "shocking" moral stance on abortion.
North East Somerset MP Rees-Mogg – tipped as the front-runner to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister – revealed during an interview that he was “completely opposed” to abortion, even in instances of rape.
Mr Shapps told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “On the issue of abortion itself, I believe in the modern approach taken in Britain.
“I find it particularly shocking to suggest that a woman should be forced to carry to term, even in the event of rape.
“Fortunately, all such issues are matters of conscience in the UK parliament and so there is no such thing as a party position and no whip – pressure to vote one way or other – from the political parties.
“When these issues have come to the floor of the House, I have tended to be on the small ‘c’ liberal side of the debate.”
However, the former Tory Party co-chairman said he personally likes Mr Rees-Mogg, adding that – despite not agreeing with his opinion – it was refreshing to hear a politician speak so openly.
But Labour’s Anawar Miah, who ran against Mr Shapps in June’s general election, claimed Mr Rees-Mogg was “extremely out of touch”.
He also said that if posed with voting on abortion he would be pro-choice, but added: “The personal views of our politicians should have nothing to do with the choices women make over their own bodies.”
Mr Rees-Mogg, explaining his views on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, claimed that abortion is “morally indefensible” in his view, but rejected the notion that rape victims should be forced to carry the baby to term, pointing to British law dictating otherwise.
He added: “It’s all very well to say we live in a multicultural country, until you’re a Christian, until you hold the traditional views of the Catholic Church, and that seems to be fundamentally wrong.
“People are entitled to hold these views, but also, the democratic majority are entitled to have the laws as they are, which do not go with the teaching of the Catholic Church.”
Potters Bar’s MP Oliver Dowden also claimed he did not share Mr Rees-Mogg’s view, but stressed the North East Somerset MP was not advocating a change in the law, simply answering a question honestly about his personal position.