The 75 Conservative MPs who opposed the Prime Minister’s deal

Mostly ERG-aligned Leavers – but roughly ten former Remainers, a core of whom now back a second referendum.

The ERG has roughly 80 supporters.  Despite some defections around the edges, this looks at first glance like a pretty unified ERG vote – since some of the 39 Conservative “defectors” are not associated with the group.

But please note that at least eleven of the rebels were Remainers, not Leavers: Guto Bebb, Damian Collins, Charlie Elphicke, Michael Fallon, Justine Greening, Dominic Grieve, Sam Gyimah, Jo Johnson, Phillip Lee, Grant Shapps and Shailesh Vara.  Bebb, Collins, Greening, Grieve, Gyimah and Johnson Lee are Second Referendum supporters.

We have used Mark Harper’s photo for this piece because the former Chief Whip is an important centre-right bellweather.  He set out his reasoning earlier today.

  • Adam Afriyie
  • Lucy Allan
  • Richard Bacon
  • Steve Baker
  • John Baron
  • Guto Bebb
  • Crispin Blunt
  • Peter Bone
  • Suella Braverman
  • Andrew Bridgen


  • Conor Burns
  • William Cash
  • Rehman Chishti
  • Christopher Chope
  • Simon Clarke
  • Damian Collins
  • Robert Courts
  • Richard Drax
  • James Duddridge
  • Iain Duncan Smith


  • Charlie Elphicke
  • Michael Fabricant
  • Sir Michael Fallon
  • Mark Francois
  • Marcus Fysh
  • James Gray
  • Chris Green
  • Justine Greening
  • Dominic Grieve
  • Sam Gyimah


  • Mark Harper
  • Gordon Henderson
  • Philip Hollobone
  • Adam Holloway
  • Eddie Hughes
  • Ranil Jayawardena
  • Bernard Jenkin
  • Andrea Jenkyns
  • Boris Johnson
  • Gareth Johnson


  • Jo Johnson
  • David Jones
  • Daniel Kawczynski
  • Pauline Latham
  • Phillip Lee
  • Andrew Lewer
  • Julian Lewis
  • Ian Liddell-Grainger
  • Julia Lopez
  • Jonathan Lord


  • Craig Mackinlay
  • Anne Main
  • Esther McVey
  • Anne Marie Morris
  • Sheryll Murray
  • Priti Patel
  • Owen Paterson
  • Tom Pursglove
  • Dominic Raab
  • John Redwood


  • Jacob Rees-Mogg
  • Laurence Robertson
  • Andrew Rosindell
  • Lee Rowley
  • Grant Shapps
  • Henry Smith
  • Royston Smith
  • Bob Stewart
  • Ross Thomson
  • Michael Tomlinson


  • Craig Tracey
  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan
  • Shailesh Vara
  • Theresa Villiers
  • John Whittingdale

– – –


Operation Gobble. May promotes Leavers within the Government…with an eye on a coming Brexit vote.

Meanwhile, the Government has quietly been appointing more trade emissaries during the last few months.

Yesterday evening, it was announced that Mims Davies will replace Tracey Crouch at Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.  Jeremy Quin will be a Government Whip.  (Very able, is Quin: watch him.)  Nigel Adams will be a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Wales Office and an Assistant Government Whip.  And Gareth Johnson will be be an Assistant Government Whip).

All of these appointments are from within the ranks of the Government – and all, bar Davies, are unpaid.  That’s further evidence, were it needed, of how the Ministerial ranks are over the statutory maximum of 109 paid Ministers.  When Henry Hill carried out a check under the Cameron Government, almost half the Conservative Parliamentary Party was on the payroll.

Theresa May has no disincentive to cut the proportion.  Every new MP on it is a MP with a new obligation – namely, to vote, as a member of the Government, for its business.  That will matter if it comes to the most crucial vote of all, both for this administration and for the country – namely, the “meaningful vote” on any Brexit deal, and the votes on legislation that would follow.

Downing Street thus has an incentive, as matters stand, to appoint MPs for voted for Brexit to the payroll: the more there are on it, the more will be obliged to support any deal she strikes in the lobbies.  Number Ten will be mindful that Party Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen are in a similar position.

It lost pro-Brexit Ministers, PPS’s and CCHQ appointees last summer in the wake of Chequers – David Davis, Boris Johnson, Steve Baker, Chris Green, Conor Burns, Maria Caulfield, Ben Bradley, Robert Courts, Scott Mann.  (Plus, separately, a pro-Remain Minister: Guto Bebb, over concessions to the ERG, plus Phillip Lee)  So it has ground to make up.

Of the four new appointments, three were on our EU referendum list as supporting Brexit – Davies, Adams and Johnson, a former PPS.  All were previously on the payroll – so to speak – and thus already under an obligation to support the Government.  But the first and last moves are unarguably promotions, and will bind in those concerned more deeply.

Meanwhile, the Government has quietly been appointing more trade emissaries during the last few months.  Though these are not on the payroll, they are also under an obligation to the Prime Minister.  Downing Street has no incentive to publish the appointments, but it is impossible to miss that some pro-Leave MPs have been among them.

So we have Pauline Latham as the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Kenya and Andrew Rossindell as the equivalent to Tanzania.  Back in the days of New Labour, Alistair Campbell had a crude but effective term for Conservatives drawn into its Big Tent – “Operation Gobble”. Number Ten might not put it the same way, but it will certainly be looking for the same effect.