McVey, Walker and Wragg. The most rebellious Conservative MPs in our survey of major votes.

22 Jun

Last week, ConservativeHome published a list of the 49 Conservative MPs who voted against the Coronavirus Regulations. As we said at the time, it was the biggest Covid rebellion since December 2, and a reminder that even if a Government has a huge majority, it can easily be rocked about by unprecedented events (a pandemic).

From 2020 and 2021, we have been keeping track of rebellions. It’s worth adding that rebellions can take various forms – Chris Green resigning as a ministerial aide, for instance – and that there have been many minor ones, so there may be one MP who is technically the most rebellious on less prominent issues. However, for the purpose of one article we’ve focused on major voting events. So who exactly has pushed back the most?

First of all, here is a list of the rebellions we tracked – with a nickname and link to recap on what each was about:

And without further ado, we can reveal that Esther McVey, Charles Walker and William Wragg are joint first in our “most rebellious MP” league table – with nine rebellions to their names. Here’s how they rebelled.

Esther McVey:

  1. Huawei
  2. Coronavirus Act 1
  3. Rule of Six
  4. Curfew
  5. Lockdown
  6. Tiers
  7. Third lockdown
  8. Coronavirus Act 2
  9. Coronavirus regulations

Charles Walker:

  1. Coronavirus Act 1
  2. Rule of Six
  3. Curfew
  4. Lockdown
  5. Tiers
  6. Third lockdown
  7. Genocide Amendment
  8. Coronavirus Act 2
  9. Coronavirus regulations

William Wragg:

  1. Huawei
  2. Coronavirus Act 1
  3. Rule of Six
  4. Curfew
  5. Lockdown
  6. Tiers
  7. Genocide Amendment
  8. Coronavirus Act 2
  9. Coronavirus Regulations

MPs who have rebelled on eight occasions:

Graham Brady:

  1. Huawei
  2. Rule of Six
  3. Curfew
  4. Lockdown
  5. Tiers
  6. Third lockdown
  7. Coronavirus Act 2
  8. Coronavirus regulations

Philip Davies:

  1. Coronavirus Act 1
  2. Rule of Six
  3. Curfew
  4. Lockdown
  5. Tiers
  6. Third lockdown
  7. Coronavirus Act 2
  8. Coronavirus regulations

Richard Drax:

  1. Huawei
  2. Rule of Six
  3. Curfew
  4. Lockdown
  5. Tiers
  6. Third lockdown
  7. Coronavirus Act 2
  8. Coronavirus regulations

Andrew Rosindell:

  1. Huawei
  2. Curfew
  3. Lockdown
  4. Tiers
  5. Third lockdown
  6. Genocide Amendment
  7. Coronavirus Act 2
  8. Coronavirus regulations

Desmond Swayne:

  1. Coronavirus Act 1
  2. Rule of Six
  3. Curfew
  4. Lockdown
  5. Tiers
  6. Third lockdown
  7. Coronavirus Act 2
  8. Coronavirus regulations

MPs who have rebelled on seven occasions:

Philip Hollobone:

  1. Huawei
  2. Coronavirus Act 1
  3. Rule of Six
  4. Tiers
  5. Genocide Amendment
  6. Coronavirus Act 2
  7. Coronavirus Regulations

Tim Loughton:

  1. Huawei
  2. Curfew
  3. Lockdown
  4. Tiers
  5. Genocide Amendment
  6. Coronavirus Act 2
  7. Coronavirus regulations

Anne Marie Morris:

  1. Huawei
  2. Curfew
  3. Lockdown
  4. Tiers
  5. Third lockdown
  6. Coronavirus Act 2
  7. Coronavirus regulations

Henry Smith:

  1. Huawei
  2. Rule of Six
  3. Curfew
  4. Lockdown
  5. Tiers
  6. Coronavirus Act 2
  7. Coronavirus regulations

Robert Syms:

  1. Huawei
  2. Rule of Six
  3. 10pm curfew
  4. Lockdown
  5. Third lockdown
  6. Coronavirus Act 2
  7. Coronavirus regulations

MPs who have rebelled on six occasions:

Peter Bone:

  1. Coronavirus Act 1
  2. Rule of Six
  3. Curfew
  4. Lockdown
  5. Coronavirus Act 2
  6. Coronavirus regulations

Christopher Chope:

  1. Huawei
  2. Curfew
  3. Lockdown
  4. Tiers
  5. Coronavirus Act 1
  6. Coronavirus regulations

David Davis:

  1. Huawei
  2. Curfew
  3. Tiers
  4. Genocide Amendment
  5. Coronavirus Act 2
  6. Coronavirus regulations

Stephen McPartland:

  1. Huawei
  2. Lockdown
  3. Tiers
  4. Third lockdown
  5. Coronavirus Act 2
  6. Coronavirus regulations

John Redwood:

  1. Huawei
  2. Curfew
  3. Lockdown
  4. Tiers
  5. Coronavirus Act 2
  6. Coronavirus regulations

David Warburton:

  1. Huawei
  2. Tiers
  3. Third lockdown
  4. Genocide Amendment
  5. Coronavirus Act 2
  6. Coronavirus regulations
Some more notes:
  • We have stopped with MPs who have rebelled a maximum of six times during this period (out of 10 in total).
  • It’s interesting to note that some “familiar faces” when one thinks of a Tory rebel aren’t included in our league – Mark Harper, for instance, who leads the Covid Recovery Group.
  • Lastly, there are some new faces to our rebellion list: Siobhan Baillie, Karen Bradley and Miriam Cates were some of the MPs to recently vote against Coronavirus regulations.

Andrew Boff: London is not a Labour city. We can win if we put in the effort and run the right campaign.

10 Jun

Andrew Boff is the Chairman of the London Assembly.

We finished the elections with one extra seat on the Assembly. Shaun Bailey did well and managed to increase our vote share, despite the problematic odds we faced.

Whilst Labour won the Mayoralty, they are decidedly worried, having seen their vote eaten into by us, and, more tactically crucial to them, the minor parties on the Assembly.  That panic about how they were losing the ‘left wing’ vote resulted in them refusing to chair any committees, a usually cross-party effort, in a thinly veiled tactic to try and tarnish the Greens and Liberals as “being in bed with the Tories”.

As a result, Conservatives now chair eight of the 11 committees and have a unique chance to steer the Assembly’s programme towards holding the Mayor accountable. Our new leader, Susan Hall, has pledged to hold the Mayor’s “feet to the fire” over his abysmal record on housing, crime, transport, and others, to date – and to criticise his election promises forensically.

The Greater London election results are going to keep psephologists busy for a while. Conservatives all over London have cheered the progress made in areas that traditionally vote Labour and also shown concern over Labour advances in some inner London Tory strongholds.

However, we have got to learn from those results. How did we get the stonkingly good result in the Chase Ward by-election in Enfield; in City and East scoop up votes that we previously thought were Labour’s; and turn marginal Havering and Redbridge into a comfortable Tory seat? Nevertheless, why did we lose ground in some Conservative areas in inner London and, of course, why did we not win the Mayoralty?

Let us not forget these questions. All too often, we get side-tracked from doing a proper analysis of how an election went and so are destined therefore to not to learn the lessons: What worked; what did not work? How do the results affect the way we campaign in the future?

This is why I am asking everyone involved with our campaign in London to complete a questionnaire, which can inform the Party’s approach in the future. I have emailed all London Association chairs a copy to forward to their members.

It may also help us understand what a distinctive London Conservative voice should sound like and create a better organised London party, at least in an informal, if not a distinct organisation.

I think it would be right at this point to hear from the canvassers, the deliverers, and back-room staff, in London about what their impressions were of our campaign. They loyally carry out the instructions during campaigns; I think it is only fair to give them a chance to ask them how they would have done it better. Because better is what we want to be.

Andrew Rosindell’s Romford constituency association could be seen as a model for other associations in London. The Association has managed to build a strong association that can mobilise a large number of volunteers (not all members) to deliver leaflets and get the vote out. If this can be replicated across London, it would allow us to get our voters out to the voting booths. Remember, turnout in London was only 42 per cent; if we can get out our voters, we can take back the capital.

London is not a Labour city, and Sadiq Khan is beatable; we can win if we put in the effort and run the right campaign. It is crucial to make use of the time we have to strengthen and organise our Party.

Adrian Lee: A visit to Romford shows how the Conservatives can campaign effectively

17 May

Adrian Lee is a Solicitor-Advocate in London, specialising in criminal defence. He served as a London Borough Councillor for 20 years and was twice a Conservative Parliamentary Candidate. Between 1994 and 1995 he served as Chairman of the National Young Conservatives.

On the eve of the London Mayoral and London Assembly elections, I spent the day campaigning. There is nothing very unusual about that, after all I have been helping on Conservative campaigns for decades. An old friend called Dinah (who just happened to be the local area Chairman) asked if I could lend a hand. However, this time there was something very different about the Constituency Association I visited and the style of organisation that the locals have crafted.

The moment I stepped into the Association office, it became apparent that the atmosphere was different. The first thing that struck me was the central direction of the campaign. Led by the redoubtable Sue, the organisers were working to a strict timetable and had worked out the specifics of what needed to be achieved. There was a great camaraderie here. It was also noticeable that this building was cleaner than most local Conservative premises, with the rooms attractively tiled, painted, and refitted. It gave the instant impression of a more professional working environment. Sue showed me the newly renovated MP’s office and commented on the importance of putting on a good face for visiting constituents at surgeries. Clearly, this Association raised enough funds to cover the costs of maintenance.

A quick perusal of the tables in the main committee room revealed that the literature for door-to-door delivery, despite this being a pan-London election, had been skilfully tailored to each ward. Not only were the leaflets promoting the Mayoral and GLA candidate, but also featured high-quality photographs and contact details of the sitting ward councillors. What was the point of this? Simple, the London Borough council elections take place in 12 months time; the Councillors need to be kept in the public eye; and promoting the ward councillors is not going to distract from the current contest. A closer inspection revealed the leaflets focused on highly localised issues of concern to constituents. Rather than indulging in Labour-bashing, the literature emphasised the dedicated service offered to the community by the Conservatives.

I was then whisked over by car to join the local Member of Parliament and his canvass team working the streets. My driver was a 22-year-old politics graduate called Ben who had worked previously as a Research Assistant to a GLA Member. The first thing that struck me about Ben was his enthusiasm and zeal. This was not just someone who was conscripted reluctantly to help for the day. He was enjoying himself. He was articulate, subtle, and fluent in political discussion and reminded me of my own youth in the 1980s when Young Conservatives and Conservative Students saw themselves as evangelists for Conservatism.

Ben explained that all of the homes in the constituency had already been leafleted on multiple occasions during the campaign and the delivery teams were continuing with this process right up to polling day. Locally, the Conservatives have built an extensive network of deliverers across all of the wards in the constituency. Many of these helpers are not fully paid-up members of the Party, but they are kept in touch all year around and are invited to Association functions. Most importantly, both the local councillors and the MP personally visit the deliverers regularly. Ben told me that the Association continues campaigning between election times with ward newsletters being continuously produced. This local team have adopted an approach akin to the Liberal Democrats in their prime. With the delivery networks firmly in place and the literature flowing through all the letterboxes in constituency, the rest of the Association can concentrate on everything from canvassing to social media.

I stepped out of Ben’s car to be greeted by the MP and his canvass team at around 2pm. Given the fact that this was a weekday, it was quite surprising to me that there were eight volunteers in the group. I was told that whilst the members of the group rotated, they always kept to this number. The team started their work in the morning and continued through to the evening.

The first innovative thing that I noted was that they were not using the old-fashioned methods of canvassing. For a start, the team were less concerned with obtaining thousands of pledges and more interested in meeting and speaking to people. After years of doing this job, they have created their own best-practice rules and have come to realise that having 40,000 pledges (as preached by CCHQ) is not always the best use of their time and resources. Firstly, all of the gathered pledges would have to be input into a database, taking hundreds of precious campaign hours and, secondly, it dawned upon them that it would be impossible to knock-up this number on polling day. So, instead, the locals adopt a more personal conversational approach with constituents. You may think that this would take longer, but in practice they get through the work quicker and it enables them to cover the entire constituency a couple of times during a typical election campaign.

The impact of the new method is immediately apparent. The politeness and enthusiasm that I found on the doorstep was surprising. Many of the voters knew the MP on a first name basis, having met him on numerous occasions over the years, and the councillors were greeted in a similar fashion. On the day that I attended, the feeling on the doorstep was very good for the Conservatives. Even some of the people who told me that they intended to vote Labour stated that they respected the local Conservatives and liked some of their local personalities.

The canvass team represented a cross-section of modern society. Recruitment is not a problem for the Conservatives in this constituency. I first spoke to Christine, a middle-aged Conservative councillor, and a retired gentleman who had been a former Mayor in a neighbouring Borough. However, there was also Ellie, a recent Oxford PPE graduate and Scott, another young graduate, who worked as assistant to the MP. Far from being “pale, male and stale”, the team later was joined by Ekin, a young man born in Istanbul, and two sitting female Asian Councillors. Later, back at the Association office, I met Michael an Afro-Caribbean Conservative Councillor and former Mayor of the Borough. However, I got the impression that all of these folk had been drawn together out of a very strong bond to the core Conservative principles of the free market, the constitution, and, above all, patriotism. Their strong political convictions spurred them on to greater endeavours.

Unfortunately, I had to leave this merry band at around 7.30pm that evening. But the next day they would increase the Conservative majority in their London Assembly constituency from 1,400 to 15,000. This is actually not so surprising when you consider that the MP for this once Labour-held seat obtained over 64 per cent of the vote in the 2019 General Election. So, you may be asking, where is this extraordinary constituency Conservative Association? The answer is Romford and their Member of Parliament is Andrew Rosindell.

For years the Party has dismissed Rosindell and his Romford Conservative Association as both slightly eccentric and atypical. They sometimes smirk at the style of his grassroots campaigns without bothering to notice that the structural substance could be successfully replicated in hundreds of other constituencies throughout the country. He has tailored a bespoke organisation that dominates the political landscape. Ask yourself, wouldn’t we have better served if we deployed at least some of these organisational methods in the marginal constituencies of South Wales?

When the General Election comes, the Conservatives will be campaigning for an unprecedented fifth consecutive term in government. Our success will depend on holding onto marginal constituencies in working-class communities. It is imperative that CCHQ does not just take the outcome for granted and run a generic, centralised, sterile campaign. Neither should they impose the outdated methods of the 1950s on the constituencies, such as four leaflets per campaign and the rest of the time spent on register-bound individual canvassing. Now is the time for re-building the grassroots structures. It is also time for them to put their pride in their pocket and to recruit Rosindell to the cause.

Andrew Gimson’s PMQs sketch: See the incredible rejuvenating effects of “Tory sleaze” on dejected Lefties

21 Apr

“Tory sleaze” should be bottled and sold as a tonic to any Leftie who is feeling glum. Its incredible rejuvenating effects continue to be demonstrated by Sir Keir Starmer.

The Labour leader had been looking down in the mouth, a bit disorientated, unable to come to terms with his disappointing poll ratings, prone perhaps to the feeling that he must be doing something wrong.

Today, for the second time in a row, he looked and sounded full of beans and bounce. “Sleaze, sleaze, sleaze,” Sir Keir intoned with relish, “and it’s all on his watch!”

Lefties love to believe in their moral superiority. However badly Jeremy Corbyn was doing, one could see that his belief in himself as a more virtuous person than any of those accursed Tories, or indeed than any of those accursed Labour moderates, remained intact.

Tony Blair carried this self-righteousness to an insufferable extreme. Whatever he did was noble. Gladstone possessed the same convenient ability to portray himself as God’s right-hand man.

And now Sir Keir is doing it. Quite how it will go down with the voters, we shall have to wait and see, but for those of us who watch PMQs each week, this boost to the morale of the Leader of the Opposition is most welcome, for it renders the contest less unequal.

Boris Johnson remained unabashed. He made no apology “for shifting heaven and earth” to get Sir James Dyson, and others, to supply life-saving ventilators during the pandemic.

“Favours, privileged access, tax breaks for mates,” Sir Keir declared, looking more perky by the moment.

After Johnson urged him to “take back what he said about the ventilator challenge,” Sir Keir retorted in a light-hearted tone: “If I had to correct the Prime Minister for everything he gets wrong I’d be here all day.”

“Captain Hindsight snipes continually from the sidelines,” Johnson replied, perhaps faintly riled by such a display of piety.

Ian Blackford, for the SNP, appeared by video link and chose the same subject: “This is how the Tories do government.”

Blackford’s dog, who had probably had to listen to his master rehearsing these lines earlier in the day, began to bark.

“I thought his dog just made a more sensible contribution just now than he did,” Johnson remarked to laughter.

What levity: Blackford the moralist was not amused.

Andrew Rosindell (Con, Romford) lamented that the statue of Ronald Reagan, “a true friend” who “supported Britain during the liberation of the Falkland Islands”, has been removed from Grosvenor Square, and said it should be erected in Parliament Square.

Johnson: “Did you notice, Mr Speaker, how the benches opposite recoiled at the idea of the recapture of the Falkland Islands?”

I was not in the Chamber, so could not see how fair this observation was.

But here is a fine piece of Tory morality: rejoicing in patriotic deeds, not prating about sleaze.

The forty-two Conservative MPs who voted against the Government on the 10pm curfew

13 Oct
  • Ahmad Khan, Imran
  • Amess, David
  • Baker, Steve
  • Baldwin, Harriett
  • Blackman, Bob

 

  • Blunt, Crispin
  • Bone, Peter
  • Brady, Graham
  • Chope, Christopher
  • Clifton-Brown, Sir Geoffrey

 

  • Daly, James
  • Davies, Philip
  • Davis, David
  • Davison, Dehenna
  • Doyle-Price, Jackie

 

  • Drax, Richard
  • Fysh, Marcus
  • Ghani, Nusrat
  • Green, Chris (pictured)
  • Hunt, Tom

 

  • Latham, Mrs Pauline
  • Loder, Chris
  • Loughton, Tim
  • Mangnall, Anthony
  • McCartney, Karl

 

  • McVey, Esther
  • Merriman, Huw
  • Morris, Anne Marie
  • Redwood, rh John
  • Rosindell, Andrew

 

  • Sambrook, Gary
  • Seely, Bob
  • Smith, Henry
  • Swayne, rh Sir Desmond
  • Syms, Sir Robert

 

  • Thomas, Derek
  • Tracey, Craig
  • Vickers, Matt
  • Wakeford, Christian
  • Walker, Sir Charles

 

  • Watling, Giles
  • Wragg, William

Plus two tellers – Philip Hollobone and Craig Mackinlay.

– – –

  • Seven Tory MPs voted against the Government on renewing the Coronavirus Act.
  • Twelve voted against the Government over the rule of six.
  • Now we have 42 this evening – enough to imperil the Government’s majority in the event of all opposition parties that attend Westminster voting against it too.
  • Fifty-six signed the Brady amendment, but it was never voted on, and wasn’t a measure related directly to Government policy on the virus.
  • We wrote last week that Conservative backbench protests would gain “volume and velocity”, and so it is proving.
  • There’s a strong though not total overlap between these lockdown sceptics and Eurosceptics.
  • We count eight members from the 2019 intake – and a big tranche from pre-2010 intakes.
  • Chris Green resigned as a PPS to vote against the measure.
  • He’s a Bolton MP and there’s clearly unhappiness there about these latest restrictions.