What is the betting Jacob Rees-Mogg is a fan of Monty Python? The former Brexit minister certainly had a Python moment during the Sunday politics shows.

It was that kind of morning. No-one was sure what to lead on – the Conservatives' drubbing in England's local elections, the economy, artificial intelligence, Eurovision even – so everything was thrown into the mix, starting with the Conservative Democratic Organisation’s conference in Bournemouth.

On Sky News, Sophy Ridge asked Grant Shapps if the CDO (or to give the group its unofficial title, Bring Back Boris), existed to give Conservative MPs a platform from which to have a go at their leader.

Mr Shapps is often the Minister sent out when the going gets tough for the Government, as it did following the loss of almost 1000 Tory councillors.

Former Home Secretary Priti Patel, speaking at the CDO event, accused some in the leadership of doing a better job of damaging the party than the opposition.

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The CDO is not the only forum where Conservative MPS are pondering the future in public. The right-leaning, US-founded national conservatism movement will mark its arrival in the UK with a three-day conference in London starting on Monday. Another sign of rebellion in the ranks?

Mr Shapps said the mood in the party was one of “steely determination”.

On the various gatherings he added: “This is a party that still, after years in government and despite having to put up with things like the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and all the costs attached to it, is actually buzzing with ideas.”

Among the speakers at “NatCon UK” in London will be Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, Michael Gove, Communities Secretary, and Jacob Rees-Mogg – which brings us to the Spanish Inquisition.

Last week, Mr Rees-Mogg criticised the Prime Minister for scaling back on a campaign promise to have a post-Brexit bonfire of EU laws. “It is no good being holier-than-thou if you then end up behaving like a Borgia,” he complained.

Sophy Ridge was so intrigued by the comparison she asked him to elaborate. What did “behaving like a Borgia” mean?

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A quick search revealed a story of popes, power, treachery, and scandal. Then there was the racier version, as told in the TV series starring Jeremy Irons.



But Mr Rees-Mogg was not minded to go any further. Ridge tried again. What did the Borgias do?

“Nepotism and all sorts of carry on,” replied the MP for North East Somerset.

“What kind of carry on?”

“All sorts. I suggest you read the relevant books.”

Ridge was not letting go and eventually Mr Rees-Mogg relented somewhat. “Everyone knows about the Borgias,” he said, going on to provide a potted biography that was as dry as dust.

“I must confess I wasn’t expecting to be talking about [the Borgias] this morning," he concluded.

Those of a certain age might have been reminded of the Monty Python punchline, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”. Therein lies a lesson for Mr Rees-Mogg: anything can happen on the Sunday morning politics shows.

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Or indeed on Thursday late night programmes. Last week saw a stushie royale on Newsnight with Alastair Campbell, Labour spin doctor turned podcaster, attacking the BBC for what he perceived as pro-Brexit bias.

After a tussle with former Brexit Party MEP Alex Phillips, Campbell turned to presenter Victoria Derbyshire. “Sorry, you bring these people on, you never challenge them, you let them talk utter rubbish about Brexit and it has happened on the BBC for year after year.”

Campbell later apologised to Derbyshire, who he called “one of the best”.



Auld enemy Nigel Farage accused Campbell of being “a thug and a bully” and said he should not be allowed back on the BBC.

As it happened, it was Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday that invited Campbell and his daughter Grace, a comedian, to talk about politics. The hook was his new book, But What Can I Do? Why Politics has Gone so Wrong and How You Can Help Fix it.

Campbell agreed politics was proving a turnoff for some. “The way the media covers politics is a problem. Young women, and women of colour in particular, the abuse they see other women getting puts them off.”

Given Alex Phillips is young and a woman, this might have been the time to mention the Newsnight rammy. But instead it sat in a corner, the elephant in the Sky studio. Not for long, though.

Grace Campbell said she was “very protective” of her father and went with him to interviews if she felt there was likely to be an argument. “He doesn’t like fighting in front of me,” she said.

“I do it in Newsnight studios [instead],” said dad.