Jacob Rees-Mogg has told talkRADIO the 'Tories Out' protesters who confronted him at the Conservative Party Conference were "perfectly polite" and they were exercising their democratic right.
Rees-Mogg appeared at a conference fringe event, but protesters brandishing banners against the Tories stormed the room and confronted him. The backbench MP has been praised for his handling of the protesters, even though one described him as a "despicable person."
Speaking to Sam Delaney, Rees-Mogg said "the reporting of [the confrontation] has been a little over-egged", adding that "it wasn't a storming" as some have suggested.
He continued: "I think protest and exchanging views is part of democracy that you cannot expect to hold public meetings without people wanting to come along and challenge what you think
"They unfurled some banners it wasn’t a storming and they were actually perfectly polite when I spoke to them."
However he added "I think it is a mistake generally to personalise discussions on different views and ideas.
"You don’t move the debate forward if you hurl abuse what you want to try and do is have a rational discussion
"it is a mistake generally to personalise discussions in different views and ideas."
When pressed by Sam on whether the Tories have an image problem, Rees-Mogg said that the party is on the right track, as unemployment has fallen and "the best way out of poverty is through employment and this is well known."
Although some have suggested the Tories are the 'nasty party', Rees-Mogg countered: "What we’re doing is in fact making people’s lives better and so that means that we are the nice party."
On his new-found popularity, Mogg said "I’m popular in the Rees-Mogg household but I’m not sure it goes much further than that.
"I’ve been doing the same as I’ve always been doing, [although] I’m a little bit busier at this conference than I was at the last conference. I just plod on and do the same thing.
"I think being willing to answer the question helps and of course I am a backbencher. I can answer questions as I choose to rather than in accordance with a pre-agreed script."
Although many people have tipped him for either a leadership role or a position in the Cabinet, Rees-Mogg said "I think both of those are very unlikely".
Listen to the full interview above