Old picture of Jacob Rees-Mogg in 2018 scuffle going viral

20 October 2022
What was claimed

A photo shows Jacob Rees-Mogg involved in a scuffle, suggesting it shows an incident in the House of Commons during a vote on fracking on 19 October 2022.

Our verdict

The incident pictured happened in Bristol in 2018.

Following reports from some MPs that Conservatives were “bullied and manhandled” during yesterday’s vote on fracking, an image of Jacob Rees-Mogg MP is being shared online with the suggestion it shows last night’s events in the House of Commons. 

The image being shared appears to show the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy involved in a scuffle.

However, it’s actually a screenshot of a video recorded over five years ago in Bristol. Mr Rees-Mogg was invited to speak at an event organised by the University of the West of England’s Politics and International Relations Society that was interrupted by protesters. 

According to the BBC, the then-backbencher went to speak to the protesters, when various other members of the audience “got involved, leading to a scuffle”. 

Mr Rees-Mogg told Sky News afterwards: “All it was was a handful of shouty people who wanted to disrupt a public meeting I was about to address. It was not really a fight, just noisy.”

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What happened in the House of Commons?

On 19 October there was a vote, tabled by Labour, that would ban fracking, but there was some confusion about whether the vote was also being treated as a motion of confidence in the government. 

Downing Street later clarified the vote was to be treated as a vote of confidence, and that Conservative MPs who failed to vote against the motion, without reasonable excuse “can expect proportionate disciplinary action”. 

Labour MP Chris Bryant told the Today programme on Radio 4 that there was “clear bullying and intimidation” of Conservative MPs at the vote and tweeted a picture from one division lobby (where MPs physically pass through in order to vote) yesterday evening.

Jacob Rees-Mogg told Sky News last night that “to characterise it as bullying is mistaken”.

Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle has said he has ordered an investigation into what happened.

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