Jacob Rees-Mogg defends using taxpayer Covid funds to poll attitudes on the union
Jacob Rees-Mogg has defended using taxpayer Covid-19 funds to poll attitudes in the union.
According to the Leader of the House of Commons it was “proper and justifiable” for the UK Government to dip into a £560,000 pot of cash for tackling the pandemic for the research.
He dismissed accusations that the polling was a “misuse” of public funds, following demands from the SNP to launch an inquiry into the matter.
The High Court ruled earlier this month that a contract awarded under emergency Covid-19 laws to market research agency Public First had been unlawful.
It said that it presented a “real danger” of appearing biased due to its links with former colleagues of the Prime Minister’s former advisor Dominic Cummings and UK Government minister Michael Gove.
Court documents from the case show that through the contract the same firm, was used to undertake Union-related research into attitudes towards Scottish independence.
The office of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster had made an “urgent request” for research around the union.
Jacob Ree-Mogg said: “The work undertaken on attitudes to the Union was a reasonable thing to poll for. It’s really important when you’re developing a communication strategy to work out how we will learn most effectively.
“There was a great deal of work to be done to communicate the messages about staying at home, about working from home, about wearing face masks and so on and so forth.
“I think this was completely proper and justifiable.
“I imagine that other governments in similar circumstances would have done much the same.”