Jacob Rees-Mogg insists he is 'entitled' to extreme views on abortion

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Jacob Rees-Mogg has insisted he is entitled to his opinions after sparking a row by claiming that abortion is wrong in all circumstances.

The Conservative backbencher, who some have tipped as Theresa May’s successor, stood by his view that terminating a pregnancy was morally unacceptable even in cases of rape or incest.

His comments on ITV1’s Good Morning Britain earlier this week were labelled “extreme” and some argued the views should disbar the eccentric politician from ever becoming Prime Minister.

But in a newspaper interview today, practising Catholic Mr Rees-Mogg said: “I’m allowed to say what I think and people are absolutely entitled to say back what they think.

“I believe in free speech – and protecting it – is very important.”

He told the Daily Mail: “Rape is a great evil and a terrible crime, but that’s not made better by then aborting the unborn child.

“The Catholic Church’s teachings are authoritative. To take a life after a rape is not the answer.

“Life begins at the point of conception. One can only feel compassion for a woman in these situations – which, of course are rare – but it’s hard to see how taking a child’s life makes them better.”

In the interview, Mr Rees-Mogg also revealed he had never cooked himself a meal and did not own a pair of jeans. “I can’t think why I should,” he said.

On the subject of his potential prime ministerial ambitions, he dismissed the chatter as “very flattering” and “good fun” but insisted he was not vain enough to believe he could move into Number 10.

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