Jacob Rees-Mogg has slammed “religious bigotry” over his stance on abortion and gay marriage.
The Tory backbencher – who has been tipped as a future Conservative leader – has repeatedly come under fire for his opposition to abortion and his anti-gay-marriage views.
But now, the politician has claimed his strict Catholic views shouldn’t bar him from achieving high office.
While appearing on the BBC’s Daily Politics programme, he said it was “terrifying” that more than 100,000 abortions were carried out in the UK last year.
He said: “Most of those were not the hard cases. The issues of rape or incest. They were abortion on demand.
“I believe that life begins at the point of conception… that has always been the policy of the Catholic Church.”
Earlier in the show, presenter Jo Coburn asked him whether he thought his views would be a “barrier” to rising through the ministerial ranks to which he objected.
“Why do you pick on this view of the Catholic Church, and say you can’t hold these views in modern politics?” he added.
“You’re saying that tolerance only goes so far, and that you shouldn’t be tolerant of the teaching of the Catholic Church.
“So isn’t this stretching into religious bigotry? What’s so important is that I should be honest with voters about my views and make no bones about the fact that I’m a practising Catholic and I believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
He was also asked whether he wanted to change the law on issues such as gay marriage and abortion and said it would be a “wonderful thing” if people had a different view on abortion.
Rees-Mogg continued: “The law is not going to change. The issue is actually about what society thinks.
“It is one of the great tragedies of the modern world and it would be a wonderful thing if society came to a different view on abortion.”