The 187 Tory MPs, including six Cabinet Ministers, who voted against the Prime Minister’s motion to extend Article 50

Almost two thirds of the parliamentary Conservative Party opposed it, alongside the DUP and a handful of others.

Parliament has voted to extend Article 50. The ranks of the Ayes include the Prime Minister and much of her Cabinet, but by a considerable margin only a minority of the parliamentary Conservative Party.

Almost two-thirds of Tory MPs, alongside all ten Democratic Unionists and a smattering of Labour and Independent MPs, voted against extension.

So too did six Secretaries of State: Steve Barclay, Liam Fox, Chris Grayling, Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss, and Gavin Williamson. Andrea Leadsom, who attends Cabinet in her role as Leader of the House, also voted against. Alun Cairns voted in both lobbies to register what is known as a ‘positive abstention’.

The full list is below. Not included are Peter Bone and Will Wragg, who served as tellers and bring the true total up to 189.

  • Nigel Adams
  • Adam Afriyie
  • Lucy Allan
  • David Amess
  • Stuart Andrew
  • Richard Bacon
  • Kemi Badenoch
  • Steve Baker
  • Harriet Baldwin
  • Stephen Barclay

 

  • John Baron
  • Henry Bellingham
  • Jake Berry
  • Bob Blackman
  • Crispin Blunt
  • Ben Bradley
  • Graham Brady
  • Suella Braverman
  • Jack Brereton
  • Andrew Bridgen

 

  • Fiona Bruce
  • Alex Burghart
  • Conor Burns
  • William Cash
  • Maria Caulfield
  • Rehman Chishti
  • Christopher Chope
  • Jo Churchill
  • Colin Clark
  • Simon Clarke

 

  • James Cleverly
  • Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
  • Damian Collins
  • Robert Courts
  • Tracey Crouch
  • Chris Davies
  • David TC Davies
  • Glyn Davies
  • Mims Davies
  • Philip Davies

 

  • Caroline Dinenage
  • Leo Docherty
  • Michelle Donelan
  • Nadine Dorries
  • Steve Double
  • Jackie Doyle-Price
  • James Duddridge
  • Iain Duncan Smith
  • Michael Ellis
  • Charlie Elphicke

 

  • George Eustice
  • Nigel Evans
  • David Evennett
  • Michael Fabricant
  • Michael Fallon
  • Kevin Foster
  • Liam Fox
  • Mark Francois
  • Marcus Fysh
  • Nusrat Ghani

 

  • John Glen
  • Zac Goldsmith
  • Helen Grant
  • James Gray
  • Chris Grayling
  • Chris Green
  • Andrew Griffiths
  • Kirstene Hair
  • Robert Halfon
  • Luke Hall

 

  • Mark Harper
  • Rebecca Harris
  • Trudy Harrison
  • Simon Hart
  • John Hayes
  • James Heappey
  • Chris Heaton-Harris
  • Philip Hollobone
  • Adam Holloway
  • Nigel Huddleston

 

  • Eddie Hughes
  • Ranil Jayawardena
  • Bernard Jenkin
  • Andrea Jenkyns
  • Robert Jenrick
  • Boris Johnson
  • Caroline Johnson
  • Gareth Johnson
  • David Jones
  • Marcus Jones

 

  • Daniel Kawczynski
  • Julian Knight
  • Greg Knight
  • Kwasi Kwarteng
  • John Lamont
  • Pauline Latham
  • Andrea Leadsom
  • Edward Leigh
  • Andrew Lewer
  • Julian Lewis

 

  • Ian Liddell-Grainger
  • Julia Lopez
  • Jack Lopresti
  • Jonathan Lord
  • Tim Loughton
  • Craig Mackinlay
  • Rachel Maclean
  • Anne Main
  • Alan Mak
  • Kit Malthouse

 

  • Scott Mann
  • Paul Maynard
  • Stephen McPartland
  • Esther McVey
  • Mark Menzies
  • Johnny Mercer
  • Huw Merriman
  • Stephen Metcalfe
  • Amanda Milling
  • Nigel Mills

 

  • Damien Moore
  • Penny Mordaunt
  • Anne Marie Morris
  • David Morris
  • James Morris
  • Wendy Morton
  • Sheryll Murray
  • Andrew Murrison
  • Jesse Norman
  • Neil O’Brien

 

  • Matthew Offord
  • Priti Patel
  • Owen Paterson
  • Mike Penning
  • Andrew Percy
  • Chris Philp
  • Christopher Pincher
  • Mark Pritchard
  • Tom Pursglove
  • Will Quince

 

  • Dominic Raab
  • John Redwood
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg
  • Laurence Robertson
  • Mary Robinson
  • Andrew Rosindell
  • Douglas Ross
  • Lee Rowley
  • Paul Scully
  • Grant Shapps

 

  • Chris Skidmore
  • Chloe Smith
  • Henry Smith
  • Royston Smith
  • Mark Spencer
  • Andrew Stephenson
  • Bob Stewart
  • Iain Stewart
  • Graham Stuart
  • Julian Sturdy

 

  • Rishi Sunak
  • Desmond Swayne
  • Robert Syms
  • Derek Thomas
  • Ross Thomson
  • Maggie Throup
  • Kelly Tolhurst
  • Michael Tomlinson
  • Craig Tracey
  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan

 

  • Elizabeth Truss
  • Tom Tugendhat
  • Shailesh Vara
  • Martin Vickers
  • Theresa Villiers
  • Ben Wallace
  • David Warburton
  • Matt Warman
  • Giles Watling
  • Helen Whately

 

  • Heather Wheeler
  • Craig Whittaker
  • John Whittingdale
  • Bill Wiggin
  • Gavin Williamson
  • Mike Wood
  • Nadhim Zahawi

The five Secretaries of State who supported the Green Amendment

As a free vote, this may give us the clearest picture of the divisions at the very top of the Party over how to approach Brexit.

Whilst several senior members of the Cabinet were amongst the 66 Conservative MPs who voted against ‘Malthouse II’, there were Secretaries of State on the other side of the question too.

As a free vote, this Amendment perhaps offers the purest insight into the divisions deepening at the very top of the Party about how best to proceed over Brexit. Excluding junior ministers, they are:

  • Alun Cairns (Welsh Office)
  • Jeremy Hunt (Foreign Office)
  • Sajid Javid (Home Office)
  • Penny Mordaunt (DfID)
  • Gavin Williamson (Defence)

Andrea Leadsom, who attends Cabinet in her role as Leader of the House, also supported it.

Greg Clark, David Gauke, David Lidington, Claire Perry and Amber Rudd are reported to have voted against the motion, with all other Cabinet members abstaining.

Our survey. Next Tory leader – Johnson is top again. Here’s why he’s in pole position with minimum effort.

It is striking how little the former Foreign Secretary is doing to maintain his lead. Then again, he scarcely needs to stir – for the moment.

Last month, Boris Johnson led our Next Tory Leader question with 26 per cent of the vote.  This month, he is top with 24 per cent.  Dominic Raab was second with 12 per cent; now he is second with 13 per cent.  Michael Gove was third with nine per cent; this month, he is third with ten per cent.  The mass of potential candidates on single figures ratings continues.  These changes are footling.

It is striking how little the former Foreign Secretary is doing to maintain his lead.  This morning sees his weekly outing in the Daily Telegraph, in which he has pop at the apparently forthcoming Bloody Sunday prosecutions.  Most weeks, it rages against the Government over Brexit.

Otherwise, he is, by the standard of such a master of self-projection, withdrawn.  Although he is not absent from Brexit-related proceedings in the Commons – he quizzed the Prime Minister during her statement of February 12, for example – he is not at the forefront of them either, like say Yvette Cooper or Bill Cash.  For example, he didn’t participate in last week’s debate.

Nor does he appear on BBC Question Time or Any Questions.  Indeed, he doesn’t seem to like being on a panel, and expose himself to the scrutiny of other members, or the chairman, or the audience.  (Though he performed robustly in during the EU referendum TV debates.)  His preferred forum is the big set-piece speech, like that he delivered at last year’s Party Conference ConservativeHome fringe event.

So what is going on?  This site’s tentative answer is that the main obstacle to Johnson’s ambitions is not the voters.  Nor (clearly) is it Party members.  It is Conservative MPs, who may not forward his name to those members for the final stage of a leadership election.  Which is why his priority at present is wooing them.

In the meantime, activists’ confidence in the coherence of the Government is low, and this lowers the ratings of potential rivals.  So the former Foreign Secretary is able to sit it out, enjoying his regular double digit lead in this survey, with other polls also showing him in the lead.

The Daily Telegraph is many party members’ broadsheet of choice, so that weekly column is enough to remind them he’s still alive and kicking.  His main opponent is not hostile MPs or disillusioned Remain voters or Cabinet members.  It is the passing of time – and the prospect of someone else, someone new emerging who is less divisive, less scarred.

Iain Dale: Replace Hammond with Gove, promote Mordaunt, bring back Raab

Plus: Snubbed by a Remainer. Delighted for Beth Rigby. Tusk japes, May spooks, Francois almost self-combusts. And: is Brexit Brecksit or Breggsit?

Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and is a commentator for CNN.

I spent much of Monday afternoon in the Commons catching up with a few MPs. Ok, Ok – it was a massive gossip session. Very useful for getting some background info on what the next Brexit developments are likely to be.

I did have one rather disconcerting experience, though. I was walking past the tables reserved for MPs when I spied one who I have known for years and always enjoyed sharing a few words with.

The MP looked up, I smiled in acknowledgement and went to start a conversation, but the MP immediately looked down at their phone without any sign of acknowledgement at all. I was officially blanked.

I’m sure the fact that this MP is the archest of arch-remainers and no doubt sees me as the Brexit-supporting enemy had nothing to do with it…what a state of affairs.

– – – – – – – – – –

Like many in Westminster, I was delighted to hear that Beth Rigby has been appointed to succeed Faisal Islam as political editor of Sky News. She’s a brilliant story-getter and has adapted to a broadcast role incredibly quickly, having been a print journalist for many years.

She won’t be starting her new job until May because, I gather, Islam is on a very long notice period which Sky News has decided to enforce. She beat off a lot of competition for the role, including two very well-known names in political journalism. I think she’ll be excellent in the role.

– – – – – – – – – –

At some point in the not-too-distant future everyone in the political media is going to start to obsess about the date on which Theresa May will announce she’s quitting.

So let me get ahead of the pack. I have always thought that she would go fairly soon after we (ostensibly) leave the EU on March 29th. But since Conservative backbenchers can’t now force her departure until the end of the year, it’s highly possible that she many stay on quite a bit longer than that.

One senior Tory told me he expects herr to announce her departure at this year’s Party conference, with the leadership contest concluding in January 2020. It’s a reasonable prediction but, if that is truly the plan, may I suggest that in early April she conducts a Cabinet reshuffle to enable all the potential contenders to test themselves properly?

This would entail Penny Mordaunt being given a big department, Philip Hammond being replaced by Michael Gove and Dominic Raab being brought back into the Cabinet. That last one might be a stretch, but the Party needs to be given a wide choice of candidates. I could argue the same thing about Boris Johnson, but it’s difficult to see how he could be brought back in any position which he would accept.

– – – – – – – – – –

Why do some people pronounce Brexit as ‘Brecksit’ and others ‘Breggsit’? I’m in the former camp, but there seems to be no rhyme nor reason as to which camp someone falls into. Any explanation?

– – – – – – – – – –

I doubt whether anyone believes that the prospects of a deal with the EU in advance of March 29th have been enhanced this week. Donald Tusk’s merry little jape on Wednesday was clearly calculated to spook Theresa May on the day before she arrived for several hours of apparently fruitless talks with the Commission.

Despite pressure from several member states, the Commission shows now sign of budging on the backstop and, if that continues, I can see no way for anything to pass through the Commons.

ERGers were also spooked by May’s words in Belfast, where she said that she is trying to amend the backstop rather than abolish it altogether. Cue Mark Francois almost self-combusting. As of today, there are 48 days to go until we are supposed to formally leave the EU. The odds on that happening reduce by the day. Just as Brussels has planned…

Hunt loses pole position in our Cabinet League Table as overall ratings languish

The Chief Whip has enjoyed something of a boost from last month’s victories on crucial votes, but the overall picture reflects a settled disenchantment.

Our last survey of 2018 revealed a Cabinet whose standing with the membership had scarcely recovered from the previous month, where we recorded our lowest-ever results since we started posing this question.

Has the New Year ushered in any re-appraisals or revivals of fortune? Alas, no.

  • Still 14 ministers with negative scores… And no change in the membership of that unhappy band, either: the Cabinet’s Remainers continue to predominate at the lower end of the table.
  • …but Smith almost breaks out. That the Chief Whip remains in the red doesn’t completely eclipse an impressive rebound, from -34.4 to just -3.8. Perhaps this is an outworking of the Government’s unexpectedly strong performance in those crucial Brexit votes – let’s see how this score fares after Valentine’s Day.
  • The rise of Leadsom continues. Last month we suggested that the Leader of the House’s big leap up the ranks might be a product of our readers’ loathing for John Bercow. If so, that well runs deep as she is up almost nine points and breaks into the top three.
  • Cox takes the top spot… But he does so whilst going backwards. Last time he was second-ranked with over 55 per cent, today he scoops the gold with less than 49.
  • Hunt loses his place on the podium. The Foreign Secretary records a serious fall, from over 60 to less than 42. We suspect this may be related to his becoming one of the most senior Cabinet members to float the idea of an Article 50 extension.
  • Javid falls into the mid-table. A loss of ten points takes the Home Secretary out of contention for the top three, reducing him to eighth place.
  • Are the non-Cabinet posts a barometer? Interestingly, both Paul Davies and Ruth Davidson have suffered some decline in their scores, despite neither featuring in any major stories and indeed the latter being on maternity leave.

Our survey. Next Tory leader. Stasis as Johnson carries on leading amidst little expectation of change.

Although the Prime Minister’s position is fragile, there is no sense of a contest in the offing any time soon.

Theresa May cannot formally be challenged as Conservative leader until this coming December – a year after the unsuccessful bid to topple her by the European Research Group and others.  There are doubtless other ways of toppling a Tory leader, and her position remains extraordinarily vulnerable.  But there is no current expectation of moves against her before March 29 – or afterwards in the event of extension.

It may be for this reason that there is little movement in our Next Tory Leader survey this month.  Boris Johnson leads on 26 per cent, 14 points more than the next contender, Dominic Raab.  Last month the latter was on the same total and Johnson’s rating was a point higher.  Michael Gove is up to third from three per cent to nine per cent.  Perhaps his swashbuckling winding-up speech in the recent no confidence vote provides the explanation.

Otherwise the main point to note is the gradual decline of Sajid Javid.  In our October survey he was second, and a point off Boris Johnson, on 19 per cent.  His scores since have been 12 per cent, 13 per cent and this month seven per cent.  There is no obvious explanation for the drop.  Against a background of very little media leadership speculation indeed, the pattern of the table suggests that many respondents have only half an eye on the prospect of change, if that.

May’s statement about the Government’s plans now. What she said and what she meant.

The biggest defeat in modern times and the largest Tory rebellion won’t stop her trying to resurrect her deal.

“Mr Speaker, the House has spoken and the Government will listen.”

And I am not resigning – though another Prime Minister in my position would.  The deal on which I gambled has just been rejected by the Commons by the biggest margin in modern times.  Conservative MPs voted against it in the biggest rebellion in modern times.  Some 63 per cent of Tory backbenchers went into the lobbies to oppose it.

However, the Fixed Terms Parliament Act offers me some protection.  Furthermore, a leadership challenge now can’t be launched against me until December.  In any event, here is no agreement within my Party on a successor.  It would be irresponsible to foist a leadership election on it, with March 29 looming, and there is no obvious alternative Prime Minister.

“It is clear that the House does not support this deal.  But tonight’s vote tells us nothing about what it does support.  Nothing about how – or even if – it intends to honour the decision the British people took in a referendum Parliament decided to hold.”

In other words, it will soon become clear that the Commons can’t settle on an alternative to my deal, after all.  The same MPs who rejected it this evening will be forced to swallow it – with, God willing, some real change on the backstop – when this becomes clear.  The deal is also a known quantity with the EU, which the alternatives aren’t.

Better mention the referendum, too.  Honouring its result is still the default position of most of the Parliamentary Party.  I must keep Sajid and Jeremy and Steve and Penny and Andrea and Chris onside.  Best to say nothing about an extension to Article 50, though.  With any luck, that can still be avoided.

“People, particularly EU citizens who have made their home here and UK citizens living in the EU, deserve clarity on these questions as soon as possible.  Those whose jobs rely on our trade with the EU need that clarity.  So with your permission Mr Speaker I would like to set out briefly how the Government intends to proceed.”

That’s a nod of the head to all those tiresome people who drone on about EU citizens – don’t they see that the priority is to get immigration down to the tens of thousands? – plus the CBI and the car manufacturers.  Anyway, I must keep David and Phil and Greg and Amber and David onside.”

“First, we need to confirm whether this Government still enjoys the confidence of the House.  I believe that it does, but given the scale and importance of tonight’s vote it is right that others have the chance to test that question if they wish to do so.  I can therefore confirm that if the Official Opposition table a confidence motion this evening in the form required by the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, the Government will make time to debate that motion tomorrow.  And if, as happened before Christmas, the Official Opposition decline to do so, we will – on this occasion – consider making time tomorrow to debate any motion in the form required from the other opposition parties, should they put one forward.”

That’s you pre-empted, Corbyn.  Mind you, once he’s lost his no confidence vote he’ll come under even more pressure to support a second referendum.  And whether he folds or not, he hasn’t got much alternative but soon to call for an extension to Article 50, in order to carry out his imaginary Labour Government’s imaginary “Labour renegotiation”.

That will be tricky for him, because calling for an extension will look like backsliding on Brexit.  We must nail him on that.  Hmm, hang on a minute.  I might need an extension too – to get my deal through, or else…and I must keep very quiet about this…to try to stave off No Deal chaos.  Best not to push him too hard.  Anyway, while there isn’t a majority in the Commons for revocation, there might be for extension.

“Second, if the House confirms its confidence in this Government I will then hold meetings with my colleagues, our Confidence & Supply partner the DUP and senior Parliamentarians from across the House to identify what would be required to secure the backing of the House.  The Government will approach these meetings in a constructive spirit, but given the urgent need to make progress, we must focus on ideas that are genuinely negotiable and have sufficient support in this House.”

This is the trickiest bit of all.  I need Yvette and her gang to come round to my deal.  That suggests flirting with a Norway-type solution and Customs Union membership.  Which would please David and Phil and Greg and Amber and David.  But I also need Jacob and his lot.  That implies no Customs Union and a Canada-flavoured deal.  Which would please Sajid and Jeremy and Steve and Penny and Andrea and Chris.

Better to keep talking and listening and listening and talking until they all concede the obvious: that there’s no alternative to my deal – the only offer that’s “genuinely negotiable”.  I won’t win Yvette and Hillary and the rest round by next week, but the seeds will have been sown.  So I must be very nice to them…but not so nice as to upset Brandon and Graham and the ’22.”

Third, if these meetings yield such ideas, the Government will then explore them with the European Union.

Fat chance!

“Mr Speaker I want to end by offering two reassurances.”

“The first is to those who fear that the Government’s strategy is to run down the clock to 29th March.  That is not our strategy.”

Yes, it is. But –

“I have always believed that the best way forward is to leave in an orderly way with a good deal and have devoted much of the last two years negotiating such a deal.”

That’s the point: the deal, the deal, the deal. Nothing has changed.

“As you confirmed Mr Speaker, the amendment to the business motion tabled last week by my Right Honourable and Learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield is not legally binding, but the Government respects the will of the House.  We will therefore make a statement about the way forward and table an amendable motion by Monday.”

Let Dominic table his Second Referendum Bill.  Let Nick try to get the Commons to settle on Norway Plus.  And let the Speaker bend over backwards to help them, which he will do.  Let them have their indicative votes and new Bills – which I probably can’t stop now, anyway.  It’s one thing to table a Bill but quite another to get it through the House.

So let’s table a motion next week that dresses up my deal with a bit of new language, sit back – and enjoy the show.  Sure, I can see how the House might, just might, settle on some Norway option before the end of March.  But accepting it would risk splitting the Party in two.  And it wouldn’t sort immigration.  Which will force MPs back to my deal…

“The second reassurance is to the British people, who voted to leave the European Union in the referendum two and a half years ago.  I became Prime Minister immediately after that referendum.  I believe it is my duty to deliver on their instruction and I intend to do so.”

Better mention the referendum again. Kill off any speculation that I’m backing off the result.

“Mr Speaker every day that passes without this issue being resolved means more uncertainty, more bitterness and more rancour. The Government has heard what the House has said tonight, but I ask Members on all sides of the House to listen to the British people, who want this issue settled, and to work with the Government to do just that.”

Except, of course, it won’t be resolved.  When my deal passes, we’ll have the trade negotiation to sort.  The Political Declaration to flesh out.  Getting the deal and a Bill to enact the Withdrawal Agreement is only the start.  Years more of Brexit lie ahead!

And to get the best out of them, the country will need leadership. Knowledge of the process.  Experience.  A settled hand on the tiller.  When I promised the ’22 I’d quit before the next election I meant it, of course.  But perhaps some things can change, after all…

Nicky Morgan: Imperfect, certainly. But May’s plan avoids the twin perils of No Deal and No Brexit. The Commons should back it.

Supporting the deal would also prevent several other things – such as the possibibility of a truly socialist government taking over.

Nicky Morgan is Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, a former Education Secretary, and MP for Loughborough.

“Politics is the art of the possible” is an important statement of realpolitik, and we shall see if enough MPs believe in it on Tuesday. For on that day, the Commons will conduct its most important vote for decades – and easily the most important that those of sitting on the green benches at this moment in history have ever experienced.

After a blissful fortnight almost free of EU-related news, there was a hard return to Planet Brexit last week in Westminster and beyond. Government defeats, Parliamentary precedent being overturned, ugly protests outside Parliament and the resumption of the debate on the Withdrawal Agreement all meant that Brexit was back in our social media feeds, front pages and inboxes with vengeance. However much we want to talk about something else (and the public certainly want us to talk about almost anything else), it is dominant and overpowering.

Brexit matters. How it turns out will shape the UK’s place in the world, our relationship with our closest neighbours and the development of our economy, politics and the unity of our country for decades to come.

Many MPs have very strong views on it and on the type of Brexit that they will accept. But those views have changed over the course of the last 30 months. And changing your mind is not something to be criticised when the subject matter is so important.

As set out in my last Conservative Home column, I firmly believe that it is for MPs to decide the outcome of Brexit and that a second referendum would be a very bad idea. But it follows that MPs have to make a majority decision.

I also believe that a No Deal outcome to Brexit would be an equally bad idea. And I voted to signal so by supporting an amendment tabled by Yvette Cooper last week. But to avoid a No Deal outcome I accept that a deal has to be put in place. That is why I’ve been clear that I will support the Prime Minister’s draft Withdrawal Agreement and, if that doesn’t succeed, then a Common Market 2.0 (also known as Norway Plus) route.

Supporting the Withdrawal Agreement would also prevent several other things – such as an immediate vote of confidence tabled by Jeremy Corbyn and the fear of a truly socialist government taking over. Over the weekend, there was some breathless speculation about radical changes to established Commons procedures to block or delay Brexit. These reports might be misleading or wrong.  But a sure way of avoiding either is to pass the Prime Minister’s deal on Tuesday.

There is no doubt that the draft Withdrawal Agreement is not perfect. But leading Cabinet Brexiteers such as Penny Mordaunt and Andrea Leadsom accept it. And as Michael Gove put it in the Commons last week: “All of us might have a perfect version of Brexit—a change here, an alteration there—but we all have to accept our responsibility next Tuesday to decide whether we are going to honour that verdict. Are we going to make the perfect the enemy of the good? …That is why, after long reflection, I have decided that we must back this agreement.” Can MPs opposed to it not agree to do do the same?  If their colleagues, such as George Freeman, Trudy Harrison and Jim Fitzpatrick can admit that they are changing their minds, then why won’t others follow suit?

I hope, in the short time left before the vote, that other MPs will think very long and hard about what a defeat for the Prime Minister’s draft deal will mean. Pledging to vote a particular way to an outside campaign group does not bind an MP. Changing our minds can be a good thing – and it is what debate in the Commons and conversations with our constituents should bring about. Doing the right thing in the wider national interest is what we should all be about.

Tim Bale: Johnson and Rees-Mogg are still in with a shout in the race to succeed May

New polling also reveals that neither is so far ahead as to be unstoppable, however.

Tim Bale is Professor of Politics at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the author of The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron, and co-runs the ESRC Party Members Project (PMP), which aims to study party membership in the six largest British parties.

In order to stay in office, the Prime Minister had to promise her party that she would be gone before the next election.  But there’s little agreement among Conservative members – and even less agreement among Conservative voters – as to who should replace her.

The ESRC-funded Party Members Project, run out of Queen Mary University of London and Sussex University, surveyed 1215 Conservative Party members between 17th and 22nd December, and a total of 1675 voters between 18-19 December, including 473 individuals who were intending to vote Conservative. The fieldwork was conducted by YouGov.

Respondents were asked the following question: Theresa May has said she will stand down as Conservative Party leader before the next scheduled general election in 2022.  Who would you most like to see replace her as Conservative Leader?  Neither group was presented with a pre-determined list of candidates but was instead asked to write in a name, and they were of course free to say that they didn’t know or weren’t sure, et cetera.

The table below gives the results, leaving out all those names that received only a handful or so of mentions – a group of people which included some relatively high-profile figures who are sometimes mentioned as potential candidates: Esther McVey is one example, since her name was suggested by only four Tory members (out of the 1162 who answered the leadership question) and no Tory voters. The table also contains a column allowing comparison with the results published by ConservativeHome on 31 December 2018, although their survey, unlike ours, gives respondents a list of names to choose from.

Tory Voters

(per cent)

Tory Members

(per cent)

ConHome

(per cent)

Boris Johnson 15 20 27
Jacob Rees-Mogg 7 15 4
Don’t Know 38 12 N/A
David Davis 4 8 7
Sajid Javid 2 8 13
Dominic Raab 3 7 12
Jeremy Hunt 2 6 9
Amber Rudd 4 5 5
Michael Gove 2 4 3
Penny Mordaunt 0 1 4

 

The results of the survey provide an insight into why Theresa May survived the confidence vote she was subjected to by some of her MPs just before Christmas. Right now, it’s anyone’s guess as to who might replace her – and that very uncertainty is bound to have worked to the PM’s advantage.

Clearly, Johnson and Rees-Mogg, both of them Brexiteers with high name-recognition, currently have the edge over other potential candidates to succeed May. Indeed, all the other candidates are beaten by ‘Don’t know’, even among Tory members. That said, when it comes to Tory voters, the same is true even of Johnson and Rees-Mogg.

Importantly, neither Johnson nor Rees-Mogg is so far ahead of the rest of the field as to be impossible to catch.  In any case, both are likely to find it hard to make it through the parliamentary round of voting that, according to the party’s rules, narrows the field to two candidates before grassroots members are given the final say.

Also striking is the dominance of men over women: at the moment it looks unlikely that the Conservatives will replace their second female leader with a third. Amber Rudd is almost certainly too much of a Remainer for a membership dominated not just by Brexiteers but by hard Brexiteers. Meanwhile Penny Mordaunt (mentioned by just 14 out of 1162 Tory members and by no Tory voters) clearly still has an awful lot to do.

The same looks to be true, however, of the three or four men likely to throw their hats into the ring – Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab, and Jeremy Hunt, whose recent trip to Singapore has been widely interpreted as part of his ongoing leadership bid. And Michael Gove is not so far behind as to make a second crack at the top job a complete fool’s errand, in spite of the mess he made of the last leadership contest.

Perhaps the bookies are right in marking Gove at 10/1. This isn’t far off the 9/1 you’d get if you put your money on Hunt and the 8/1 you’d get on Raab, but still some way off the 6/1 offered for Johnson and, interestingly, Javid – who, like Hunt, many claim has been very much ‘on manoeuvres’ recently.

Testing our survey against the latest polling of Party members. New evidence on Next Tory Leader.

Johnson has topped an ESCR poll, as he did our last survey. Its findings are even better for Brexiteers than ours.

Today’s Observer contains a brief summary of more polling of Conservative Party members for the ESCR Party Members Project.  It is squeezed into a larger story on Labour and Brexit, and the paper’s account doesn’t come with a table and full details.  None the less, it provides another opportunity to test Conservative Home’s monthly survey against a properly weighted opinion poll.  Mark Wallace looked at other recent evidence from the Project late last week.

Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and David Davis are “top of the party’s grassroots list” as preferred candidates to replace Theresa May, the Observer reports.  It says that Johnson “topped the poll” with 20 per cent, that Rees-Mogg “trailed in second on 15 per cent” and that  Davis “scored 8 per cent”. We read separately that Sajid Javid also scored per 8 cent in the poll, so Dominic Raab, with 7 per cent, was therefore fifth.

So discounting the don’t knows, the ESCR Project’s top five are –

  • Johnson – 20 per cent.
  • Rees-Mogg – 15 per cent.
  • Davis – 8 per cent.
  • Javid – 8 per cent.
  • Raab – 7 per cent.

And the top five candidates in our last Next Tory Leader survey were –

  • Johnson – 27 per cent.
  • Javid – 13 per cent.
  • Raab – 12 per cent.
  • Jeremy Hunt – 9 per cent.
  • Davis – 7 per cent.

It appears that ESCR put nine names to their Party member respondents: Johnson, Rees-Mogg, Davis, Javid, Raab, Jeremy Hunt (6 per cent in its poll), Amber Rudd (5 per cent in its poll, 5 per cent in our last survey), Michael Gove (4 per cent and 3 per cent respectively) and Penny Mordaunt (one per cent and 4 per cent respectively).  We currently offer no fewer than 19 names, all of whom have been spoken of as potential leadership candidates.

Four of the ESCR’s top five – Johnson, Davis, Javid and Raab – overlap with our top five.  Hunt was in our top five, but not in the ESCR’s (which had him sixth on 6 per cent).  Jacob-Rees Mogg is in the ESCR’s top five; he wasn’t in ours (he was seventh with 4 per cent).  It is sometimes claimed that the ConHome panel is more Eurosceptic than Party membership as a whole.  That may be correct – but as matters stand this ESCR result actually finds the reverse, though it is of course only a single piece of evidence.

The ESCR Project is run out of Queen Mary University of London and Sussex University.  Its last blog on its latest polling of Party members says that it surveyed 1215 Conservative Party members.  YouGov conducted the polling between December 17 and December 22.