It was one of the most momentous days in modern British politics but that did not stop Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House of Commons and hard line Brexiter, from slouching on the front benches during a heated debate over a key vote on the country’s departure from the European Union.
As MPs on Tuesday discussed a motion to take control of parliamentary business in order to legally rule out a no-deal Brexit, Rees-Mogg stretched out across the green bench – angering opponents who accused him of showing contempt for parliament.
“There’s been a lot of talk about democracy tonight, and the Leader of the House, who – I have to say – with his body language throughout this evening has been so contemptuous of this house, of the people,” Caroline Lucas, a member of parliament for the Green party, said during the debate.
“The Leader of the House has been spread across around three seats, lying out as though if that was something very boring for him to listen to tonight. Can I just say to him, when he has been lecturing us about democracy, we will have none of it,” she added.
Other MPs could be heard shouting “sit up man”, but the Conservative politician remained in repose, shaking his head as he adjusted his glasses.
The scene took place before a cross-party alliance voted by 328 to 301 for the motion, prompting Prime Minister Boris Johnson to announce that he would immediately push for a snap election.
The sight of the reclining Rees-Mogg prompted strong reactions online – and became an instant meme.
Jacob Rees-Mogg is almost lying down on the Tory front benches, l am half expecting his nanny to march into the chamber with a blanket, pillow and a hot cup of Horlicks for the poor man! 😳
— 🌈 Angela Rayner 🌈 (@AngelaRayner) September 3, 2019
Memes also showed up with users showing the government’s slipping majority since 2017.
— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) September 3, 2019
Some demanded him to show some respect:
The physical embodiment of arrogance, entitlement, disrespect and contempt for our parliament. pic.twitter.com/XdnFQmkfCS
— Anna Turley (@annaturley) September 3, 2019
I grew up on a council estate in a pit village in Co. Durham. I was taught to sit up straight and show respect. @Jacob_Rees_Mogg had all the advantageous money can buy and can do neither. What a waste of an education. https://t.co/vJ8kBJiGxz
— Phil Wilson (@PhilWilsonXMP) September 4, 2019
While others accused him of entitlement:
Our entitled, contemptuous, born to rule Tory Establishment summed up in a single picture pic.twitter.com/Ns1lqLqrTM
— Owen Jones 🌹 (@OwenJones84) September 3, 2019
“A rare resting Rees-Mogg spotted in sterling,” journalist Tracy Alloway wrote:
A rare Resting Rees-Mogg pattern spotted in sterling. Bearish. pic.twitter.com/VtsWq7IYJn
— Tracy Alloway (@tracyalloway) September 4, 2019