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Westlake Legal Group > Elizabeth Truss MP

Javid keeps the gold but Johnson and Rees-Mogg fail to medal in our Cabinet League Table

Westlake Legal Group Cabinet-League-Table-Sep-19-1024x956 Javid keeps the gold but Johnson and Rees-Mogg fail to medal in our Cabinet League Table ToryDiary Thérèse Coffey MP Theresa Villiers MP Steve Barclay MP Sajid Javid MP Robert Jenrick MP Robert Buckland MP Rishi Sunak MP Priti Patel MP Paul Davies AM Oliver Dowden MP Nicky Morgan MP Natalie Evans (Baroness) Michael Gove MP Matthew Hancock MP Mark Spencer MP Liz Truss MP Kwasi Kwarteng MP Julian Smith MP James Cleverly MP Jake Berry MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Grant Shapps MP Geoffrey Cox MP Gavin Williamson MP Esther McVey MP Elizabeth Truss MP Dominic Raab MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Andrea Leadsom MP Alun Cairns MP Alok Sharma MP Alister Jack MP

Another month in and once again the Johnson Ministry appears to be holding fairly steady in the affections of grassroots activists.

There has been a slight downward drift, illustrated by the top scores no longer breaking the plus-80 barrier, but there are no ministers with negative scores and compared to the tail end of Theresa May’s time in office these are healthy scores.

Yet is it the calm before the storm? We are now only a month away from the October 31 Brexit deadline, which the Prime Minister insists he’s going to meet but nobody can really see how he can. Our next survey will be conducted as he runs into that tempest – it will be interesting to see what affect it has.

A few details:

  • Javid gold again… The Chancellor has seen his score slip a little but, as that is in line with the overall trend, he remains the most popular member of the Government amongst party members for the third month in a row.
  • …as Johnson slips… Last month the Prime Minister was ranked second by our panellists and just a couple of points shy of Javid. This month he slips to sixth after losing more than 12 points. Is this simply a response to various stories this month, or a foretaste of a backlash next month?
  • …and Rees-Mogg stumbles. It’s been an even worse month for the Leader of the House, who has fallen from a bronze-medal position last month to 11th place now after a fall of almost 15 points.
  • …but Brexiteers benefit. The beneficiaries of the above moves are principally Michael Gove, Geoffrey Cox, Dominic Raab, and Stephen Barclay. It is not until Liz Truss, in tenth position, that we find a Remainer.
  • Two departures. It’s goodbye to Amber Rudd and Jo Johnson, who both resigned from the Cabinet this month, and hello to Thérèse Coffey, who takes over from Rudd at Work & Pensions. Johnson’s successor, Chris Skidmore, is not attending Cabinet.
  • Wallace rebounds. Last month we asked what might have caused the Defence Secretary to suddenly slump to near the bottom of the table. Whatever it was, it’s passed – he’s now just below Rees-Mogg after gaining 20 points.

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Javid, Johnson, and Rees-Mogg hold their podium slots in our Cabinet League Table

Westlake Legal Group Cabinet-League-Table-Aug-19-1024x954 Javid, Johnson, and Rees-Mogg hold their podium slots in our Cabinet League Table ToryDiary Theresa Villiers MP Steve Barclay MP Sajid Javid MP Robert Jenrick MP Robert Buckland MP Rishi Sunak MP Priti Patel MP Paul Davies AM Oliver Dowden MP Nicky Morgan MP Natalie Evans (Baroness) Michael Gove MP Matthew Hancock MP Mark Spencer MP Kwasi Kwarteng MP Julian Smith MP Jo Johnson MP James Cleverly MP Jake Berry MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Grant Shapps MP Geoffrey Cox MP Gavin Williamson MP Esther McVey MP Elizabeth Truss MP Dominic Raab MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Andrea Leadsom MP Amber Rudd MP Alun Cairns MP Alok Sharma MP Alister Jack MP   Last month we published our first Cabinet League Table of the Johnson Ministry. It offered a sea-change from Theresa May’s embattled government, both in terms of composition and the estimation in which party members held it.

One month on and the general picture hasn’t really changed. If anything, over August there was a general upward drift in the scores, reflecting what many commentators – including our own Mark Wallace – thought was a very strong start in the role.

It goes without saying that the data for this was collected prior to the return of the Commons and the Government’s miserable week therein. We might therefore anticipate a quite different set of results in October.

Here are a few of the details:

  • Post-Ruth politics. Our survey was front-page news in Scotland last month when it showed the Scottish Conservative leader, so often one of the most highly-rated individuals, down to a positive score of just +14. Perhaps it was an omen of things to come, because Ruth Davidson has since stepped aside, triggering a battle for the future of the Party in Scotland.
  • Javid tops the poll again. The Chancellor puts on four points to take his score into the mid-Eighties. This suggests that activists are either untroubled by the Government’s decision to move away from spending restraint, which Sajid Javid is by necessity spearheading, or are at least not holding it against him.
  • Johnson and Rees-Mogg fill out the podium. No change in the ordering of any of the top three, and both the Prime Minister and Leader of the House have put on about five points to their score.
  • Gove climbs… The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is climbing the ranks. But will his ongoing defence of May’s deal, and reports that he is leading the charge against Johnson’s disciplining of anti-No Deal rebels, put a dent in his score next month?
  • …as does Cleverly. Of course small changes in position may not be terribly significant, but the Party Chairman is nonetheless one of the most popular politicians in the survey. If this continues it can’t hurt his chances of being offered a Cabinet brief in a future reshuffle.
  • What happened to Wallace? In a survey which generally saw very little movement – save for two outright departures – there are a couple of obvious exceptions. Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, has seen his score drop by over ten points and now languishes near the bottom of the table.
  • Williamson wins members over. The other is the Education Secretary, who has seen his stock rise from +27 to +45 and gone from being close to the bottom of the table to comfortably in the middle.

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The end of the Conservative Party as we have known it

  • The roll-call of 21 rebel Conservatives from whom the whip has been removed includes two former Chancellors of the Exchequer, one of which held the office only a few weeks ago, the other being one of Margaret Thatcher’s public service reformers; four other former Cabinet Ministers (plus one “entitled to attend”); a former Attorney-General and a former Deputy Chief Whip; all the others bar one have been Ministers.
  • Their expulsion leaves Boris Johnson 43 votes short of a majority.  This suggests a general election sooner rather than later, and one which may well take place without Brexit having been delivered.
  • Some of the 21 will stand down when it comes (including, we now read, Rory Stewart); others may might their seats as independent conservatives; some may seek a coupon arrangement with the Liberal Democrats; some may get a coupon and others, since the LibDems will already have many candidates in place, won’t.  Some may win; most probably won’t.
  • Other Conservative MPs of roughly the same outlook may also go, as Keith Simpson announced he will yesterday.  So will a slice of Association members – though not a large proportion of the whole, given the pro-Brexit views of most activists.  The Tory MPs of the immediate future looks to be more pro-Leave than today’s are.  In broad terms, the balance of the Parliamentary Party will shift rightwards.
  • To be more precise, the Conservative Party’s appeal at the coming election will be pitched, even more than in 2017, to northern, older and Leave-backing voters.  In a nutshell, the Party will become less economically liberal (a change that Ryan Bourne worries about in his debut column on this site today) and less socially liberal (on, say, crime and immigration).  Rejoice, Nick Timothy. Despair, Liz Truss.
  • If this appeal works, Boris Johnson, whose family background can fairly be described as liberal elite, will become Prime Minister of a more Trump-flavoured party, with Dominic Cummings presumably hovering in the wings: bent on delivering Brexit, more northern infrastructure, cash for “our NHS”, tough policy on crime, “an Australian-style points immigration system” and tax cuts for poorer workers.
  • And it is quite possible that Johnson will succeed – at least in England, which in turn could pave the way for a second independence referendum in Scotland and a border poll in Northern Ireland.
  • If he doesn’t, there will probably be no Brexit.  But the Conservative membership and Parliamentary Party as both stand are unlikely to let the project go.  Expect both to cling to it, as debate gathers about a permanent arrangement with the Brexit Party, for at least one more Parliament.  And popular support for leaving the EU is likely to remain substantial for the forseeable future.
  • It is hard to see this kind of profile playing well in London, most cities, among ethnic minorities, younger voters and in the prosperous parts of the greater South-East in which there was a high Remain vote in 2016.  The libertarian-flavoured bits of the centre-right, no less than what survives of the pro-EU Tory left, is going to struggle to have internal impact.
  • It is wisdom after the event to blame Johnson for a prorogation-and-whipping gambit that seems to have failed, and which looks to have profound consequences (after all, Philip Hammond and company are now unlikely to regain the whip).  But, frankly, Johnson was dammed if he did and dammed if he didn’t.  The Conservatives have tried the Theresa May way – seeking to please everyone.  That didn’t work either.
  • The recently-appointed Prime Minister deserves his chance to put his case to the people.  We backed him for the leadership precisely because we felt that, in the event of a snap election, he has the projection to pull off a surprise win – with the Brexit Party coming at him from one end, the Liberal Democrats doing so from another, the SNP on his back in Scotland, and Jeremy Corbyn waiting in the wings.
  • But the Party is going to have to think very hard about what to do if Johnson doesn’t succeed, Brexit is thwarted – and a Marxist Government takes office.  Maybe it should be beginning to mull about what to do if the voters won’t swallow a Canada-type approach.
  • In which event, it might want to start thinking again about an option which this site has always treated respectfully but critically: EEA membership.  Yes, as a policy it is deeply problematic.  But in a polarised Britain in which an a la carte arrangement with the EU won’t work, but the country retains its broadly Eurosceptic orientation, a future government might have to reach for a solution which is table d’hote.
  • Perhaps we are wrong in thinking that yesterday’s vote marked the end of a chapter in the Conservative story.  Maybe the expulsion of the 21 will have no wider effect.  Perhaps they and Johnson will kiss and make up.  Maybe Tory MPs will suddenly unite around a common position.  No: like you, we think none of that sounds remotely likely.  Today, Conservatives walk between two worlds, “one dead. The other powerless to be born”.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Javid pips Johnson and Rees-Mogg to the top of the podium in our first Cabinet League Table of the new Government

Westlake Legal Group Cabinet-League-Table-Jul-19-1024x955 Javid pips Johnson and Rees-Mogg to the top of the podium in our first Cabinet League Table of the new Government ToryDiary Theresa Villiers MP The Cabinet Steve Barclay MP Sajid Javid MP Ruth Davidson MSP Robert Jenrick MP Robert Buckland MP Rishi Sunak MP Priti Patel MP Paul Davies AM Oliver Dowden MP Nicky Morgan MP Natalie Evans (Baroness) Michael Gove MP Matthew Hancock MP Mark Spencer MP Kwasi Kwarteng MP Julian Smith MP Jo Johnson MP James Cleverly MP Jake Berry MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Highlights Grant Shapps MP Geoffrey Cox MP Gavin Williamson MP Esther McVey MP Elizabeth Truss MP Dominic Raab MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Andrea Leadsom MP Amber Rudd MP Alun Cairns MP Alok Sharma MP Alister Jack MP

When Mark predicted last month that it would be the last Cabinet League Table with that line-up, he was more right than he might have expected. Boris Johnson ushered in the new era with one of the more brutal reshuffles in modern political history.

A glance at last month’s table illustrates how the clean break has certainly restored the Cabinet’s standing in the eyes of the grassroots: every single member has a positive rating, nearly all of which would have put them comfortably in the top ten during the ancien régime.

But how much of that is due to unfamiliarity? This isn’t usually something we scrutinise, but no fewer than 16 of the politicians above-listed had ‘Don’t Know’ as their highest single response, with a couple more avoiding that fate by a bare handful of votes. A blow to the egos of a few, perhaps, but it does also mean that those ministers still have plenty of scope to make a positive impression.

Here are a few of the other takeaways:

  • Javid leads the pack. The Chancellor holds onto the position he took last month, and continues to enjoy the dividends of a good leadership election. Remarkable to think that two months ago this spot was held by Penny Mordaunt, now on the backbenches.
  • Johnson in his prime. Theresa May departed our table with a score of -61.2 (that’s lower than Chris Grayling), so Boris Johnson’s +77.2 is a happy contrast. However, he ought to recall that at one point his predecessor recorded record-breaking positive scores too. Fail to deliver and his standing will fall, fast.
  • Rees-Mogg makes the podium. Perhaps unsurprising, but the titular star of our Moggcast is a hit with the membership. Leader of the House is a good position for retaining their favour too, as Andrea Leadsom discovered, as it offers numerous opportunities for scoring points off John Bercow.
  • Brexiteers on top. Also unsurprisingly, Leave-backing MPs dominate the top of the table – it isn’t until Liz Truss, in seventh place, that we find a minister who backed Remain in 2016. Amber Rudd, one of the surprise survivals of the reshuffle, is at the bottom of the table. Except…
  • Davidson in the doldrums. The Scottish Conservative leader has previously been relatively shielded from the ups and downs of the Cabinet, often chalking up podium positions as she focused her fire on the SNP. She is currently the lowest-ranked politician in the entire table, most likely fallout from her highly-publicised split with the Prime Minister and hostility to No Deal.
  • Survivor spread. Interestingly, there doesn’t appear to be a particular position pattern for those ministers who did appear in our previous table (apart from the generally improved scores). Truss, Michael Gove, and Steve Barclay are at the upper end of the table, Rudd and Brandon Lewis near the bottom.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Javid pips Johnson and Rees-Mogg to the top of the podium in our first Cabinet League Table of the new Government

Westlake Legal Group Cabinet-League-Table-Jul-19-1024x955 Javid pips Johnson and Rees-Mogg to the top of the podium in our first Cabinet League Table of the new Government ToryDiary Theresa Villiers MP The Cabinet Steve Barclay MP Sajid Javid MP Ruth Davidson MSP Robert Jenrick MP Robert Buckland MP Rishi Sunak MP Priti Patel MP Paul Davies AM Oliver Dowden MP Nicky Morgan MP Natalie Evans (Baroness) Michael Gove MP Matthew Hancock MP Mark Spencer MP Kwasi Kwarteng MP Julian Smith MP Jo Johnson MP James Cleverly MP Jake Berry MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Highlights Grant Shapps MP Geoffrey Cox MP Gavin Williamson MP Esther McVey MP Elizabeth Truss MP Dominic Raab MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Andrea Leadsom MP Amber Rudd MP Alun Cairns MP Alok Sharma MP Alister Jack MP

When Mark predicted last month that it would be the last Cabinet League Table with that line-up, he was more right than he might have expected. Boris Johnson ushered in the new era with one of the more brutal reshuffles in modern political history.

A glance at last month’s table illustrates how the clean break has certainly restored the Cabinet’s standing in the eyes of the grassroots: every single member has a positive rating, nearly all of which would have put them comfortably in the top ten during the ancien régime.

But how much of that is due to unfamiliarity? This isn’t usually something we scrutinise, but no fewer than 16 of the politicians above-listed had ‘Don’t Know’ as their highest single response, with a couple more avoiding that fate by a bare handful of votes. A blow to the egos of a few, perhaps, but it does also mean that those ministers still have plenty of scope to make a positive impression.

Here are a few of the other takeaways:

  • Javid leads the pack. The Chancellor holds onto the position he took last month, and continues to enjoy the dividends of a good leadership election. Remarkable to think that two months ago this spot was held by Penny Mordaunt, now on the backbenches.
  • Johnson in his prime. Theresa May departed our table with a score of -61.2 (that’s lower than Chris Grayling), so Boris Johnson’s +77.2 is a happy contrast. However, he ought to recall that at one point his predecessor recorded record-breaking positive scores too. Fail to deliver and his standing will fall, fast.
  • Rees-Mogg makes the podium. Perhaps unsurprising, but the titular star of our Moggcast is a hit with the membership. Leader of the House is a good position for retaining their favour too, as Andrea Leadsom discovered, as it offers numerous opportunities for scoring points off John Bercow.
  • Brexiteers on top. Also unsurprisingly, Leave-backing MPs dominate the top of the table – it isn’t until Liz Truss, in seventh place, that we find a minister who backed Remain in 2016. Amber Rudd, one of the surprise survivals of the reshuffle, is at the bottom of the table. Except…
  • Davidson in the doldrums. The Scottish Conservative leader has previously been relatively shielded from the ups and downs of the Cabinet, often chalking up podium positions as she focused her fire on the SNP. She is currently the lowest-ranked politician in the entire table, most likely fallout from her highly-publicised split with the Prime Minister and hostility to No Deal.
  • Survivor spread. Interestingly, there doesn’t appear to be a particular position pattern for those ministers who did appear in our previous table (apart from the generally improved scores). Truss, Michael Gove, and Steve Barclay are at the upper end of the table, Rudd and Brandon Lewis near the bottom.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Johnson is set to face an early general election. His Cabinet must be ruthlessly shaped to fight it – on a No Deal platform.

Conventional Cabinet-forming means representing as wide a Party spectrum as possible, and sending Ministers to departments that they will hopefully run for several years.

The unique circumstances that Boris Johnson will face in a month or so, if as expected he wins this Conservative leadership election, require tearing up that usual wisdom – and taking risks.

No Deal is not Johnson’s preferred option (nor should it be).  But we will all know whether he is prepared ultimately to lead Britain out of the EU without a deal and honour the referendum result by the Cabinet that he appoints.

It must be one whose members are all signed up to No Deal if necessary, and an election if Parliament prevents Brexit on October 31.

For a Prime Minister Johnson will not be able to afford Cabinet splits, resignations, noises off – or election campaign rows.

Sure, he will, in effect, have no Commons majority: but that problem will not be solved by forming a Cabinet of anti-No-Dealers-at-any-cost as well as of No Dealers-in-the-last-resort.  That way lies the fate of Theresa May.

Instead, he must throw the dice.  His Government must push for No Deal if necessary.  Or for an election on a No Deal manifesto if his Government is no confidenced while seeking to deliver it.

If an election is forced on the Conservatives without Brexit having been delivered, only the most strenuous effort to push it through the Commons, without a deal if necessary, stands a chance of warding off Nigel Farage.

It follows that Johnson must be ruthless – and move as fast as possible while the authority of his expected leadership win is fresh.  Out must go Philip Hammond, Greg Clark, David Gauke plus, it seems, Rory Stewart, and others.

It seems unlikely that Amber Rudd’s affection for Johnson will overcome her anti-No Deal convictions.  So be it.  The diciest, most difficult task of all will be squaring Ruth Davidson and Scotland’s Conservatives.

Here is the kind of shuffle that he should now start to plan.  It is drawn up to meet three non-negotiable requirements.

First, its members must be prepared to sign up to a Johnson policy of Brexiting on October 31.

Second, it should, within that parameter, be drawn as widely as possible from across the Party.

Third, its members will ideally have some experience of the department to which they will be sent.

Finally, they should also be chosen with an eye to presentation skills during an election campaign.

We suggest roughly as follows.

– – –

Deputy Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Jeremy Hunt.

The expected runner-up must be bound in completely to the Johnson administration.  The new Prime Minister should delegate much of the day-to-day running of the Government to him.  Hunt will be reluctant to leave the Foreign Office, but could not refuse the promotion, unless he is determined to resist the October 31 deadline.

Brexit Secretary: Dominic Raab.

The EU must be sent the clearest possible signal that Britain intends to leave the EU at the end of October.  There could be none less ambiguous than sending Raab back to his old job.  That he knows the department is another advantage.

Chancellor of the Exchequer: Sajid Javid.

The present Home Secretary is committed to that October 31 deadline, can be relied upon to swing the Treasury behind No Deal preparation, is economically literate, and in an election campaign would be an aspiration icon as well as an attack dog.

Foreign Secretary: Liam Fox.

The International Trade Secretary isn’t a Johnson fan, but he voted against the extension of Article 50, is a very experienced Minister…and not at all someone you’d want loose on the back benches in current circumstances.  He could hold the fort in the Foreign Office during an election’s duration.

Home Secretary: Penny Mordaunt.

The doctrine is that a woman must hold a great office of state, and it justifies moving Mordaunt out of defence, and promoting her.  Though a Hunt supporter during this contest, she opposed extension in the Commons lobbies, and was part of the 2016 Vote Leave team.  She is well placed to strike the right balance on immigration policy.

Defence Secretary: Michael Gove.

There is a strong case for sending him to the Foreign Office, to try to help heal the wounds of this contest.  But defence will be an important element of any election campaign, and Gove could be relied upon to make the most of it.  He may have no experience of the department, but he has certainly pondered the role.

Business Secretary: Liz Truss.

The Chief Secretary is naturally combative, gutsy and a reformer..  She would therefore be a risky fit in an outward-facing, voter-sensitive department such as education – at least during an election.  But as a critic of the Business Department, she would run it will an exacting eye, and treat the corporate lobbies with a healthy scepticism.

Justice Secretary: Robert Buckland.

The Prisons Minister is, in Tory terms, well left-of-centre – a stalwart of the Tory Reform Group.  He is also capable, a Johnson backer, and a realist.  Geoffrey Cox should go to the Justice Ministry soon, but is needed for continuity in the Brexit talks.  Buckland, a lawyer and former Minister in the department, will do very nicely in the meantime.

Trade Secretary: Greg Hands.

It may be that Government policy on Heathrow would prevent Hands’ return, but he was a Minister of State in the department, understands trade policy, and is one of the Party’s best-briefed opponents of a customs union, against which he has written frequently on this site.

Health Secretary: Matt Hancock.

He is running the department with an absence of fuss, has avoided NHS disputes, understands the relationship between technology and healthcare, brings enthusiasm to everything he does – and has therefore written the case, despite his Treasury ambitions and leadership campaign, for staying exactly where he is.

Education Secretary: Damian Hinds.

It is very tempting to give a new policy (showering the department with money) a new face.  The itch should be resisted.  In an election campaign, it is best to have someone in place who understands the department and the issues – and who can present calmly and clearly, as Hinds does.

Work and Pensions Secretary: Alok Sharma.

The Work and Pensions Minister knows his way round the department as a senior Minister in it, is a Johnson backer in this contest, and has been unlucky not to make it to the top table before.  If Rudd won’t serve or is too risky an appointment, Sharma would slot straight in.

Environment Secretary: George Eustice.

Like Ed Vaizey (never appointed Culture Secretary) or Nick Gibb (never appointed Education Secretary), Eustice is one of the club of Ministers-Or-Former-Ministers-Who-Know-Their-Subject.  An honourable and prescient resigner over Brexit policy, he is well-known to the farming lobby and would be all over No Deal preparations.

Housing Secretary: Kit Malthouse.

Now purged, at least for a while, of his own leadership ambitions, Malthouse served under Johnson during the latter’s Mayoral period. He understands the brief, is in place at the department, and would offer, as he would put it, “a fresh face”.  Bring the Malthouse Compromise into the Cabinet.

Culture Secretary: Nicky Morgan.

Talking of Malthouse, let’s reinvent Morgan.  Our columnist is the ultimate Good Egg, having both a strong sense of Party unity and a willingness in extremis to back a No Deal plan.  We don’t want to lose her, but she would be a more-than-useful ambassador from Johnson to the Party’s centre-left.

Northern Ireland Secretary: Theresa Villiers.

This is one of the most daunting appointments of all, given the challenge of dealing with Ireland’s Government.  Villiers is a Brexiteer who understands Northern Ireland, having served there as Secretary of State, and knows the players.  If anyone can square conviction, knowledge and diplomacy, it is Villiers.

Transport Secretary: Gavin Willamson.

Johnson has little choice but to return to Cabinet the man who has successfully managed the whipping of the first stage of this leadership campaign.  It is a very fine judgement as to whether to send him back to head up the Whips’ Office.  On balance, we think it best he be given a department of his own that he will run with enthusiasm.

International Development Secretary: Priti Patel.

The new Prime Minister will need supporters in Cabinet, and people who are committed to Brexit.  Patel fits both categories.  She understands the department, grasps the need for aid money to be spent wisely, and would slot in neatly back there.

Scotland Secretary: David Mundell.

This is arguably the most crucial appointment of all.  No Deal, or a No Deal election, presents particular challenges in Scotland.  Johnson’s support among Tory Scottish MPs has been minimal in the Parliamentary stage of this contest, and he should must be prepared to give the experienced Mundell as much leeway as possible.

Wales Secretary: Alun Cairns.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Party Chairman: James Cleverly.

Cleverly radiates a sense of confidence rare among top-flight politicians, understands social media, is calm on TV, has CCHQ experience, and is itching to do the job.  Now that his own leadership campaigning has calmed down, he can be expected to work well with Lynton Crosby, who will surely return.

Leader of the Lords: Natalie Evans.

Again, if it ain’t broke, etc.

– – –

Entitled to attend –

Leader of the Commons: Andrea Leadsom

Continuity knocks.  Leadsom has blossomed as Leader of the House.  There’s no reason to move her.

Chief Whip: Steve Barclay

This is a hard call, and there are arguments for sending for Williamson, or taking a quite different tack and approaching Graham Brady.  Barclay is a Leaver and an ex-Whip – at one point the only Brexiteer in the office.  He is calm, methodical, well-liked…and was a Johnson voter this week.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Julian Smith

Never sack a former Chief Whip.

Brexit Minister of State: Steve Baker

Johnson should cut the number of Ministers entitled to attend Cabinet, but he could do a lot worse than put Baker, under Raab, back in his old department in charge of No Deal preparations, and allow him to contribute when Brexit policy is being discussed.

Attorney-General: Geoffrey Cox

See “Justice Secretary”.

– – –

So that’s –

23 full Cabinet Ministers, as now (including Johnson).

Six women full Cabinet members. There are five now.

Three visible ethnic minority members.  There is one now.

Eight original Johnson voters in this contest plus four people who switched to back him.

– – –

There are a mass of Ministers and others who would need care and attention.  With no majority, Ministers leaving through the exit door, Team Johnson members queueing at the entrance, other Ministers champing at the bit for promotion and other leadership candidates’ backers to keep quiet, this will be the devil of a shuffle to manage.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Which MP is backing which candidate. Our named estimates. Johnson 112, Hunt 44, Gove 34, Javid 21, Stewart 14

The arms race to name supporters has begun, and on balance we’ve decided to join it.

We have been compiling our own list for some time both of declared and undeclared supporters of possible contenders.

Some names will doubtless come off one column and be added to another…only perhaps later to revert to the original.

At any rate, here we go: as we wrote recently, what strikes us so far is how fluid the Parliamentary stage of the contest is presently set to be.

– – –

Boris Johnson – 112

  • Nigel Adams
  • Stuart Andrew
  • Steve Baker
  • Steve Barclay
  • Paul Beresford

 

  • Jake Berry
  • Peter Bone
  • Andrew Bowie NEW
  • Ben Bradley
  • Andrew Bridgen

 

  • James Brokenshire
  • Robert Buckland
  • Conor Burns
  • Alun Cairns
  • Bill Cash

 

  • Rehman Chisti NEW
  • Therese Coffey
  • Damian Collins
  • Colin Clark
  • Simon Clarke

 

  • James Cleverly
  • Geoffrey Cox
  • Tracey Crouch NEW
  • Leo Docherty
  • Nadine Dorries

 

  • Oliver Dowden
  • Richard Drax
  • James Duddridge
  • Iain Duncan Smith
  • Michael Ellis

 

  • Charlie Elphicke
  • Nigel Evans
  • David Evennett
  • Michael Fallon
  • Mark Francois

 

  • Lucy Frazer
  • Marcus Fysh
  • Zac Goldsmith
  • Chris Grayling
  • Andrew Griffiths

 

  • Matt Hancock
  • Simon Hart
  • James Heappey
  • Chris Heaton-Harris
  • Ranil Jayawardena

 

  • Bernard Jenkin
  • Andrea Jenkyns NEW
  • Robert Jenrick
  • Caroline Johnson
  • Jo Johnson

 

  • David Jones
  • Daniel Kawczynski
  • Greg Knight
  • Kwasi Kwarteng
  • Mark Lancaster

 

  • Andrea Leadsom
  • Andrew Lewer
  • Julian Lewis
  • Ian Liddell-Grainger NEW
  • Jack Lopresti

 

  • Craig Mackinlay
  • Stephen McPartland
  • Esther McVey
  • Ann Main
  • Kit Malthouse

 

  • Scott Mann
  • Paul Maynard NEW
  • Johnny Mercer
  • Amanda Milling
  • Andrew Mitchell

 

  • Damian Moore
  • Anne Marie Morris NEW
  • Sheryll Murray
  • Andrew Murrison
  • Matthew Offord

 

  • Priti Patel
  • Owen Paterson
  • Mike Penning
  • Andrew Percy
  • Mark Pritchard

 

  • Jacob Rees-Mogg
  • John Redwood
  • Lawrence Robertson
  • Douglas Ross
  • Andrew Rossindell

 

  • Lee Rowley
  • Bob Seely NEW
  • Grant Shapps
  • Alok Sharma
  • Chloe Smith

 

  • Henry Smith
  • Andrew Stephenson
  • Bob Stewart
  • Graham Stuart
  • Julian Sturdy

 

  • Rishi Sunak
  • Desmond Swayne
  • Ross Thomson
  • Justin Tomlinson
  • Craig Tracey

 

  • David Tredinnick
  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan
  • Liz Truss
  • Martin Vickers NEW
  • Theresa Villiers

 

  • Ben Wallace
  • David Warburton
  • Matt Warman
  • Heather Wheeler NEW
  • John Whittingdale

 

  • Gavin Williamson

Jeremy Hunt – 44

  • Harriet Baldwin
  • Peter Bottomley
  • Steve Brine
  • Alistair Burt
  • James Cartlidge

 

  • Jo Churchill
  • Greg Clark
  • Glyn Davies
  • Alan Duncan
  • Caroline Dinenage NEW

 

  • Jonathan Djonogly NEW
  • Philip Dunne
  • Mark Field
  • Vicky Ford
  • Liam Fox

 

  • Mike Freer
  • Mark Garnier
  • Nus Ghani
  • Robert Goodwill
  • Roger Gale

 

  • Richard Graham
  • Greg Hands
  • Oliver Heald
  • Nick Herbert
  • John Howell

 

  • Andrew Jones
  • John Lamont
  • Alan Mak
  • Patrick McLoughlin
  • Huw Merriman

 

  • Penny Mordaunt
  • David Morris
  • James Morris
  • Will Quince
  • Mark Pawsey

 

  • John Penrose
  • Mark Prisk
  • Amber Rudd
  • Royston Smith
  • Alec Shelbrooke

 

  • Keith Simpson
  • Iain Stewart
  • Helen Whateley

Michael Gove – 34

  • Peter Aldous
  • Richard Bacon
  • Kemi Badenoch
  • Karen Bradley
  • Jack Brereton

 

  • Alberto Costa
  • David Duguid
  • George Eustice
  • Michael Fabricant
  • Nick Gibb

 

  • Luke Graham
  • Bill Grant
  • Kirstene Hair
  • John Hayes
  • Trudy Harrison

 

  • Damian Hinds
  • Kevin Hollinrake
  • Stephen Kerr
  • Edward Leigh
  • Oliver Letwin

 

  • Rachel Maclean
  • Mark Menzies
  • Anne Milton
  • Nicky Morgan
  • David Mundell

 

  • Bob Neill
  • Guy Opperman
  • Neil Parish
  • Claire Perry
  • John Stevenson

 

  • Mel Stride
  • Tom Tugendhat
  • Ed Vaizey

Sajid Javid – 22

  • Lucy Allan
  • Edward Argar
  • Victoria Atkins
  • Fiona Bruce
  • Stephen Crabb

 

  • Mims Davies
  • Kevin Foster
  • John Glen
  • Robert Halfon
  • Luke Hall

 

  • Simon Hoare
  • Caroline Nokes
  • Chris Philp
  • Mary Robinson
  • Andrew Selous

 

  • Chris Skidmore
  • Gary Streeter
  • Derek Thomas
  • Robin Walker
  • Mike Wood

 

  • Jeremy Wright

Rory Stewart – 14

  • Richard Benyon
  • Ken Clarke
  • Tobias Ellwood
  • David Gauke
  • Dominic Grieve

 

  • Margot James
  • Gillian Keegan
  • David Lidington
  • Paul Masterton
  • Victoria Prentis

 

  • Antoinette Sandbach
  • Caroline Spelman
  • Nicholas Soames

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From Reggie to Rory Sahib: My whip said the office is neutral for this leadership contest. Tell that to the marines.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2017-09-09-at-11.14.55 From Reggie to Rory Sahib: My whip said the office is neutral for this leadership contest. Tell that to the marines. Whips Sir Nicholas Soames MP Sajid Javid MP Rory Stewart MP Liz Truss MP Light relief Jeremy Hunt MP Highlights Esther McVey MP Elizabeth Truss MP Duke of Edinburgh Duchess of Sussex donald trump Daily Telegraph Conservative leadership election 2019 Comment Boris Johnson MP   From: Reggie@toptory.lidl.com

To: Rory.Stewart@Maiwand.com

Subject: The Boris Premiership

Rory Sahib!

I barely see you these days as you are on your grand tour of constituencies – Winchester to Wigan and Cardiff to Cromer – chatting up the locals and holding forth in Urdu and Sanskrit!

Lady Mary and my grandchildren are most impressed, and say you come across as an honest tribal elder. Trouble is, old boy – and I told this to Soames who is one of your supporters – it gets votes from other parties but few from the rolling-eyed zealots in ours.

Never mind: you seem to have enjoyed yourself and it will have brought back happy memories of trekking across Iraq and Afghanistan.

Whilst you have been on manoeuvres, we poor old backbenchers are being pestered by all the other candidates. Text messages, emails and being ambushed in the lobby by thrusting colleagues who, until a month ago, had never passed the time of day. I put my head down and head for the Smoking Room.

I have to say I find the whole business most depressing: a version of the Wacky Races and all kinds of promissory notes not underwritten by HM Treasury. Young Hunt doesn’t seem to know his China from Japan, Hancock is auditioning for “Britain’s Got Talent”, the fragrant Esther is resurrecting Lady T, and Sajid is busy making videos.

And then there is Boris. Things must be serious because he is being held under house arrest and only allowed to speak to the Daily Telegraph who have him under contract for a million euros a year. His campaign team are issuing all kinds of post dated promissory notes – both Rees-Mogg and the Trussette as candidates, God help us, to be Chancellor of the Exchequer. You and I know that the only thing Boris can be relied upon is to let you down on every occasion!

Anyway, we now have the charade of MPs voting for the next two weeks and then our activists. The poor devil who wins will then face the same dead end as old Mrs May. Then the proverbial brown stuff will hit the fan.

It’s hard to think that only a week has gone by since the State Visit of that awful American who somehow won the presidential election. For the State Dinner, Soames and I dressed up with medels and regalia, went to the Palace early to sink a few tumblers of firewater with Willy Peel – Soames brother-in-law and Lord High Executioner. No sign of the Duchess of Sussex or Phil the Greek, neither of whom can stand D Trump Esquire. I wondered whether they had invited Corbyn round for the evening?

Apart from the civil service, who has been running the country for the past week? The Chamber is dead apart from the Speaker opining on everything and dropping bitchy comments about colleagues he dislikes. My whip said the office was neutral for the leadership contest – tell that to the Marines!

Soames and I managed to get away to Epsom for two days and were surrounded by members of the Turf Club desperate to know the odds on the PM stakes. I suggested a few pounds sterling on Mr Pumpkin our killer cat.

Hope to see you next week and Soames and I will take you for a seven course blow out at that new Afghan Restaurant in Jermyn Street, eccentrically named “The Old Etonian”.

Yours till lights out,

Reggie

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There are too many Tory leadership candidates

We changed the presentation our of monthly Next Tory Leader survey result the last time it was published.  We usually put a bar chart above the written summary and a results table below it.  But last month, we dropped the former, because there are now so many contenders that the chart is too big to fit on the page.

Admittedly, we could have shrunk both by removing some names.  Tom Tugendhat has indicated that he will not stand.  Last week, Philip Hammond said likewise.  Gavin Williamson was unlikely to throw his hat in the ring even then.  It is perhaps unnecessary for us to include David Lidington.  Jacob Rees-Mogg is backing Boris Johnson.

But for every name that we take out, we could put another in.  What about Steve Baker, who is being touted by some of his friends? (And under some circumstances by himself.)  Or Johnny Mercer?  Or, talking of people with a military interest, Tobias Ellwood?  All have been punted within the recent past.  We could quite properly include them – and more.  For example, Andrea Leadsom, who isn’t in our table, declared last week, as well as Esther McVey, who is.

Which raises the question: what is going on?  Admittedly, more Conservative MPs express an interest in the leadership than actually stand for it when the chance comes.  Some scratch around for support, find it wanting, and quietly pull out before it’s known that they were ever in.  Jeremy Hunt pondered standing in 2017.  So did Theresa May in 2005.

Next time round (which could be very soon), it will happen again.  This site has written before of an Andy Warhol leadership contest, in which a mass of potential contenders will be famous for 15 minutes.  Even when the mists clear, there are likely to be more than five runners – the number who stood in the first Parliamentary ballot two years ago.  The Commons Library note on Tory leadership election rules suggests that there’s nothing much to stop any Conservative MP who wishes to do so putting his or her name to their colleagues.

So what account for the increase in the number of hopefuls?  There seem to be three main factors.

First, the calculation by some of the smaller fry that they can push themselves, gather some support, and then strike a deal with one of the bigger fry: I’ll declare for you if you give me a Cabinet job.  Scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours (as low down as may be required).

But the law of dimishing returns applies: the more potential candidates there are, the fewer the number of Cabinet places that can be promised – assuming that any of the bigger fish are willing to make such pledges, and assuming again that these can be trusted.

In any case, this gambit explains very little.  It was no less deployable in 2017 than now.  But there were fewer names in circulation before the contest that returned Theresa May.

The second explanation is more telling.  Margaret Thatcher was an MP for more than 15 years before becoming Party leader.  John Major had served for more than ten; William Hague for a bit less long; Iain Duncan Smith for about the same time.

May had to wait for more than 20 years; Michael Howard for roughly the same period.  The big exception to the rule is David Cameron – leader in fewer than five years after entering the Commons.  If he could do it, some MPs think, then so can I.

Which takes us to the third and connected reason.  Life is speeding up.  It was ever thus – but the end of the 24 hour news cycle and the rise of social media has acclerated the pace of change.

Be Liz Truss, Instgram Star, and get on the front of the Mail on Sunday magazine. Or be Matt Hancock, and star in jeans and T-shirt at an arts and culture event.

And so on.  Some will hail these changes as an unmitigated blessing.  Look how many great competitors we have!

ConservativeHome is not so sure.  It suits us to run a list with lots of names.  But it might not suit the Conservative Party.  Indeed, it could be a sign that it now contains more impetus for splintering and faction, policy or personal, than instinct for purpose and unity.  It might be that having a lot of chiefs is the other side of having too few Indians – that’s to say, councillors and activists.  Perhaps the excess of candidates is a symptom of illness; of how years of rows over Europe have weakened the Tory body politic’s immunity.

In medieval times, strong monarchs meant barons kept in check which in turn meant civil peace (up to a point, anyway).  Weak kings meant strong barons which meant bastard feudalism and, in the end, civil war.  You will take your own view of whether Theresa May can usefully be compared to Henry VI.  But there may something in it.  There is a smack of The Hollow Crown about today’s Tory Party.

Dominic Lawson is on to the same point in today’s Sunday Times. He quotes Gilbert and Sullivan: “when everybody’s somebody, then no-one’s anybody”.  Without naming names, there are plenty of somebodies near the bottom of our table, commanding derisory shares of the vote.  Sure, one of them may ambush his or her opponents, as Margaret Thatcher did in 1975.  But one thing’s for sure: not all of them can.  The contest may or may not produce a Snow White.  But statistically, there are bound to be more than seven dwarves.

The next Conservative leader will face challenges unprecedented in the Party’s post-war history – perhaps ever, assuming that the election takes place soon.  Brexit is stuck.  The divisions over it, within the Party and outside it, are divisions over other things, too: culture, age, region,  – even locality: over how well or badly Britain does its politics.

Andrew Roberts’ book on Churchill is called Walking with Destiny.  May’s replacement may or may not have to walk with destiny, but he will need to stroll hand in hand with luck even to survive.  A Tory electoral collapse may be unlikely, but it is possible: the Brexit Party may be changing the rules of the game.  Maybe the new leader will be able to create his own team of rivals.  But we wouldn’t put money on it.

It’s all your fault, we will doubtless be told.  Your blasted website with its tables and surveys.  To which we can only reply that the causes strike us as ranging just a bit wider.  And in any event, no potential contender – none – has ever asked for their name to be removed.

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Next Tory Leader. Our Survey. Johnson dominates the table. He puts on ten points and leads by eighteen.

Westlake Legal Group next-tory-leader-our-survey-johnson-dominates-the-table-he-puts-on-ten-points-and-leads-by-eighteen Next Tory Leader. Our Survey. Johnson dominates the table. He puts on ten points and leads by eighteen. ToryDiary Tom Tugendhat MP Tobias Ellwood MP Sir Graham Brady MP Rory Stewart MP Priti Patel MP Philip Hammond MP Penny Mordaunt MP Nicky Morgan MP Next Tory leader Matthew Hancock MP Mark Harper MP Liz Truss MP Liam Fox MP Justine Greening MP James Cleverly MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Highlights Gavin Williamson MP Esther McVey MP Elizabeth Truss MP David Lidington MP David Davis MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Amber Rudd MP

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-04-21-at-17.34.41 Next Tory Leader. Our Survey. Johnson dominates the table. He puts on ten points and leads by eighteen. ToryDiary Tom Tugendhat MP Tobias Ellwood MP Sir Graham Brady MP Rory Stewart MP Priti Patel MP Philip Hammond MP Penny Mordaunt MP Nicky Morgan MP Next Tory leader Matthew Hancock MP Mark Harper MP Liz Truss MP Liam Fox MP Justine Greening MP James Cleverly MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Highlights Gavin Williamson MP Esther McVey MP Elizabeth Truss MP David Lidington MP David Davis MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Amber Rudd MP

Here are Johnson’s last eleven scores in reverse order: 22 per cent, 25 per cent, 26 per cent, 27 per cent, 24 per cent, 19 per cent, 30 per cent, 35 per cent, 29 per cent, 7 per cent and 9 per cent.

Those last two scores are from before he quit as Foreign Secretary in the wake of the Chequers proposals on Brexit.  So it isn’t hard to see what is happening here.

Essentially, his resignation catapulted him to the front of the queue as the main Conservative opponent of Theresa May’s EU policy.  And the worse she does, the more he thrives.

The postponement of Brexit, the talks with Jeremy Corbyn, the return of Nigel Farage, the looming European elections, the sense of drift and paralysis…all these have bumped him up to his highest total since last August.

Note that he is not being punished in the poll for backing the Prime Minister’s deal third time round.  Dominic Raab drifts down by four points and Michael Gove back to single figures.

It is a paradox that this finding, and reports elsewhere of rising support for Johnson among MPs, may actually help May just a little.  If pro-Soft Brexit and Remain Tory MPs think deposing her will land them with him, they are likely to rally round her.

But does he hold his lead in run-offs against other main contenders?  Read more about that on this site tomorrow.

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