Advance briefing is everything for politicians dashing from one interview to the next in the run-up to an election, and Jacob Rees-Mogg understands that better than most.
Rushing into one radio interview, he was armed only with the rationale that leaving is common sense and that people should ignore advice to remain. All good and all on-message so far. The tired old Leave vs Remain argument. An easy interview to head into.
Alas, his aides hadn’t pointed out that the topic of conversation was not Brexit, but Grenfell, and his trite statement that it was common sense to leave has left the country in no doubt that he is a complete and utter Tory. Implying that the residents of Grenfell lacked common sense is pretty low and stupid, even for a Tory.
Not wanting to waste an opportunity to make things worse, fellow Tory, Andrew Bridgen leapt to Rees-Mogg’s defence, saying that he would have given better advice in the moment than the fire brigade authorities did. Much back-pedalling ensued, and the following appeared on @ABridgen’s Twitter account.
“I realise that what I said was wrong and caused a great deal of distress and offence. It was not my intention to do so, and I do not want to add in any way to the pain that this tragic event has caused. I apologise unreservedly.”
This has been deemed such a good apology at Central Office that it will be adopted as the Party’s “official apology” for all cases of offence caused. Look out for it making regular appearances in the coming week.
The starting gun has been fired and the Election is underway.
Meanwhile, Brexit continues.