Anger as Rees-Mogg’s former business partner made minister

Jacob Rees-Mogg was booed by protesters as he arrived at the Tory conference (Getty Images)
Jacob Rees-Mogg was booed by protesters as he arrived at the Tory conference (Getty Images)

Liz Truss is under fire after appointing the former business partner of Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg as a Government minister.

Dominic Johnson has been made a middle-ranking minister of state jointly in the Department for International Trade and the Cabinet Office. He will be made a life peer and sit in the House of Lords.

The announcement was made on Sunday on the official Government website, gov.uk.

Mr Johnson and Mr Rees-Mogg founded Somerset Capital Management, described as a seven billion dollar global emerging markets specialist investment company, in 2007.

Prior to that he set up various dotcom businesses before moving into asset management in 2001, according to a biography on gov.uk.

He was vice-chairman of the Conservative Party between 2016 and 2019 and was made a non-executive board member of the Department for International Trade in November 2020.

In 2017 he was made a CBE.

Labour’s shadow international trade secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “After crashing the economy with unfunded tax cuts for the very wealthiest earners, and lifting the cap on bankers’ bonuses, it beggars belief that the Conservatives have appointed an unelected asset fund manager to the Government – who just happens to be a crony party donor.

“As millions of working people face agonising choices about what essentials they can afford, Liz Truss – once again – shows she is not on their side.”

Mr Rees-Mogg was booed by protestors as he entered the Tory party conference in Birmingham on Sunday.

He played down the protests as a “fact of democracy”.

Speaking to Sky News while being escorted through the crowd by police officers, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “There have been protests at Tory conferences since time immemorial, it’s nothing new.

“It’s a fact of democracy. They’re shouting but it’s perfectly peaceful.

“And the right to peaceful expression of your view is fundamental to our constitution.”

The crowd pursued him, jeering and booing, with some shouting “Tory scum”.

Demonstrators furious at Liz Truss’s economic plan are carrying signs reading “unelected, unaccountable, unhinged” and “wages up, bills down, Tories out”.