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Westlake Legal Group > Tom Tugendhat MP

Luke de Pulford: We must stand with Hong Kong, even if it harms trade with China

Luke de Pulford is Director of the Arise Foundation and serves on the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission.

As No Deal looms large a terrible question hangs in the air: can Brexit Britain afford to stand up to China? (I’m an unrepentant leaver, before you ask).

Resolving our approach to this question is becoming urgent. We have witnessed continuing demonstrations in Hong Kong, including the closure of the world’s 8th busiest airport and the sight of the Red Army amassing on its borders. Events like these are placing before the UK a stark choice: do we want to prioritise trade prosperity or our human rights obligations? With China threatening economic consequences if the UK continues to “interfere”, it’s starting to seem like it will have to be one or the other.

I’ve been genuinely surprised by how many party colleagues seem content to hold their noses in a search for post-Brexit prosperity. The trade-trumps-all strand of thinking is alive and well. But these Conservatives are in danger of forgetting their tradition. The Party has a proud history of confronting authoritarianism. On top of that, we have more skin in the game with Hong Kong than anyone else.

The peaceful transfer of Hong Kong’s sovereignty, ending 156 years of British Rule, was the result of careful diplomacy led by Conservative Governments. This was motivated by the same commitment to the rule of law, self-determination, democracy and freedom that led us to oppose fascism and the USSR.

When Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979, she worked closely with Murray MacLehose, then the Governor General, to take forward discussions that had begun with Deng Xiaoping. Three years later she sent Edward Heath, as her Special Envoy, to continue the negotiations, paving the way for her own visit to China in 1982.

Deng, who was placing China on a trajectory of post-Mao and post-Cultural Revolution political and economic reform, told Thatcher that “I could walk in and take the whole lot this afternoon”. In her characteristic response, she agreed – and, with words that have great relevance today, she added “there is nothing I could do to stop you, but the eyes of the world would now know what China is like”.

By December 1984, in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, political pragmatism and statesmanship culminated in the signing of the Sino-British Declaration. Four Conservative Foreign Secretaries, Geoffrey Howe, John Major, Douglas Hurd and Malcom Rifkind, and Hong Kong’s last Governor, Chris Patten, all played their part in creating the internationally guaranteed Treaty that created “two systems in one country.”

So when Boris says he is with the Hong Kong people “every step of the way”, he is invoking a tradition that goes to the heart of the Party. These were events of seismic importance, engineered and delivered by successive Conservative administrations. As I say: we have skin in the game. 

For years, Martin Lee, the “father of democracy in Hong Kong” – whom I recently had the privilege of meeting – has been warning of the gathering storm clouds. The reforms of Deng Xiaoping are a distant memory, superseded by a return to the authoritarianism of Mao under Xi Jinping. Lee’s warnings are coming to fruition. A harbinger of what Hong Kong people fear was plain to see in an editorial in the Communist Party’s Global Times which claimed that the brutal suppression of the pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen, 30 years ago, had “immunised” China against political instability.

Authoritarianism is not to be confused with political stability. And when an all-powerful Communist State imprisons political dissidents, academics and lawyers, sends a million Uighurs to detention centres, bulldozes Catholic and Protestant churches, and is accused of myriad other human rights abuses, it is authoritarian. When an authoritarian state violates a treaty with Britain to the detriment of the rule of law in Hong Kong, we have a moral as well as legal duty to act.

Tom Tugendhat is surely right to argue that we should guarantee the citizenship and right of abode of Hong Kong’s people. Even better if the Commonwealth were to make this pledge at the Heads of Government meeting in Rwanda next year. This is the very least we can do given our obligations to the people of Hong Kong. The very worst we can do is pretend not to notice in anticipation of favourable trading terms.

Conservatives must not forget their history. Unbridled market-worship is much of the reason the younger generation struggles to identify with Conservatism, and prioritising trade over our obligations to the people of Hong Kong would be a tragic affirmation of their criticisms. In contrast, our greatest moments have been where we have stood up for underdogs beleaguered by authoritarianism. The consequences for standing up for Hong Kong may well be punitive trading terms with China. But, in Thatcher’s words, at least “the eyes of the world would now know what China is like.”

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

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

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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Andrew Gimson’s PMQs sketch: The unbearable spectacle of a tormented Prime Minister pretending things are fine

An intolerable fakeness pervaded PMQs. The tone was set by the Prime Minister, who pretended to be cheerful, while looking in unguarded moments tormented.

She decided to get through the session in part by congratulating any MP who ran the London Marathon. By the time she did this for the third or fourth time, her bogus jollity had become unbearable.

It was like seeing someone with a mortal illness pretend everything is fine. At first one admires their courage, but after a while the evasion of the truth becomes another form of cowardice, and renders any communication impossible.

Nobody mentioned Brexit. That is the fatal condition – fatal at least to Theresa May – which is destroying her prime ministership.

She promised she knew how to deal with it, but she didn’t. Occasional rumours of a miracle cure no longer command credibility. She is doomed, but will not admit it.

Jeremy Corbyn drew a portrait of a nation in decline, afflicted by falling life expectancy, hunger and a violent crime epidemic, all caused by Tory austerity.

In other words, he was in election mode, which is understandable, as there are elections tomorrow. But one had the impression he was trying out these lines for a general election, when he will urge voters to throw out the hard-hearted Tories.

From the Tory benches, Tom Tugendhat attacked her for ignoring American and Australian warnings and allowing Huawei to become a “dragon” in our critical infrastructure, while Johnny Mercer protested at the “abhorrent” prosecutions of aged veterans, charged with committing murder almost half a century ago.

It was during Mercer’s attack that I caught a glimpse of the misery which now afflicts the Prime Minister. She too is being prosecuted, indeed persecuted, in a way which to her must seem deeply unfair.

She benefits from no presumption of innocence. Everything that goes wrong is her fault. This bitter predicament cannot be wished away by pretending everything is all right. No wonder the House was half empty by the end of her performance.

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How far should Sedwill go over the Huawei leak?

‘ “This is quite ridiculous,” David Cameron snapped at ministers gathered in Britain’s modest version of the White House situation room, known as Cobra, in the depths of the Cabinet Office. “Why cannot I just order they are going to go, and I will provide a waiver and indemnity on the legalities?” ‘

We quote from the Guardian‘s account of a National Security Council meeting in 2011, and of how “the Prime Minister’s irritation was directed at Dominic Grieve” in “Britain’s modest version of the White House situation room, known as Cobra, in the depths of the Cabinet Office”.  The row was over the legality of transferring money to Libyan rebels.

Are you dissatisfied with the Guardian as a source?  In which case, let us refer you to a Times report of the same year.  “[Alan] Duncan confronted the NSC with intelligence from the oil world that hastily arranged sanctions were hurting the rebels while leaving the Libyan dictator’s war machine untouched”.

Which brings us to the current row over the leak to the Daily Telegraph of an NSC row about Huawei – and whether the Chinese company should or should not help to build Britain’s new 5G network.  The point we are making is obvious.  Contrary to some claims, leaks from the NSC aren’t new.  The question is: given that context, what should be done about this one?  Journalists and Ministers have different interests here – not only from each other but even, sometimes, among themselves.

Journalists love leaks.  At least, those who get them do.  Leaks mean stories and stories mean kudos – which Steven Swinford, who took the lead in breaking the Telegraph story, has thus gained.

But what about other journalists?  Sometimes, they take a different approach, particularly if they don’t get so many leaks themselves.  They reach instead for another sort of story – exposing the mole!  Or at least hinting at who he or she might be.  Or at the very least luring one of their colleagues to do so, in a game of grandmother’s footsteps.  The first step of the game is well-known: ask cui bono?

In this case, the beneficiary might be an unhappy civil serrvant.  Or a Special Adviser doing what his or her Minister has told them to do.  Or that SpAd doing what he thinks his Minister would want without actually having been told.  (Cabinet Ministers are not meant to discuss NSC proceedings with their SpAds, by the way)  Or a Minister who is a leadership contender seeking to do down another Minister who is a leadership contender.  It is that delicious possibility which has excited some journalists almost beyond endurance.

No to mention some Ministers, too.  Naturally, they all deplore leaks – unless, needless to say, they are leaking themselves.  And so they are currently doing, on an unprecedented scale.  Some have always briefed journalists about what happens in Cabinet – in recent times, at any rate.  What has changed is that some now do so before the meeting has even taken place, telling those the hacks in question what they propose to say before they have even said it.  It isn’t at all clear why policy discussions at the NSC are more sacronsanct than those at Cabinet.

For Ministers, read civil servants, too.  Mark Sedwill is reported to be furious about the leak.  The Cabinet Secretary is demanding that the personal e-mails and mobile phones of Cabinet Ministers as well as SpAds are checked.  We trust that he is being no less exacting about the leak in March of secret Cabinet Office documents about the preparedness of government for No Deal.

On the Huawei leak, the following applies, or should do.

First, the Government is perfectly entitled to crack down on leaks, if it wishes.  If it wants, say, to check the mobile phones of Ministers – and not simply target their SpAds pour décourager les autres – all well and good.

Second – and the point does not contradict the first – the Huawei story is a legitimate one.  It was basically the account of a policy disagreement, not of secret operations.

It follows that proportionality is required.  Had the Telegraph, say, revealed the names of any British agents who may happen to be operating  in China – not that one can imagine such a thing – government would be entitled to bring the full force of GCHQ to bear.

But the paper did nothing of the kind.  Certainly, its account will have been inconvenient for Sir Mark, as well as for the Government more broadly.  It will have wanted to present the Huawei decision as Ministers getting tough on China, by restricting the firm’s access.   After all, this is a Home Office government with a security focus.  The Prime Minister is a former Home Secretary and Sedwill a former Permanent Secretary in the department.

Instead, the Telegraph framed the story as Ministers going weak on China, carrying a quote critical of the decision from Tom Tugendhat, and others presenting the country in a negative light.

A question for Sedwill, then, is: how far does he want to go over a leak that, though rare in character, was far from exceptional?  Is it worth perhaps obtaining a Ministerial scalp over the matter, with the Government in its current condition, by ordering an enquiry more exacting than the usual one?  Should the police be called in?  As we say, a crackdown on leaks would, within sensible limits, be perfectly in order.  But with a Government so febrile, Theresa May should beware of the law of unexpected consequences.

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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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Our survey. Next Tory leader. Johnson is top again. Javid second, Raab third. Hunt is now fourth.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2018-12-30-at-15.36.39 Our survey. Next Tory leader. Johnson is top again. Javid second, Raab third. Hunt is now fourth. ToryDiary Tom Tugendhat MP Sajid Javid MP Rory Stewart MP Priti Patel MP Philip Hammond MP Penny Mordaunt MP Next Tory leader Michael Gove MP Liz Truss MP Jeremy Hunt MP James Cleverly MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Highlights Gavin Williamson MP Esther McVey MP Elizabeth Truss MP Dominic Raab MP David Lidington MP David Davis MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Boris Johnson MP Amber Rudd MP

It’s much the same story in our final Next Tory Leader survey of 2018.  Boris Johnson is top with more than double the score of the man who stays second – Sajid Javid.  The Home Secretary continues narrowly to fend off Dominic Raab, who stays third.

Last month, Johnson was on 24 per cent.  He moves up a bit to 27 per cent.  Javid puts on a point to come in at 13 per cent.  Raab does likewise and is now on 12 per cent.

David Davis drops from ten per cent to seven per cent.  Jeremy Hunt is up from seven per cent to nine per cent, and displaces Davis in fourth place.

But the snapshot picture is that there are three contenders in double figures, one well ahead of the other two – and a very long tail of names in single figures, to which we must add Esther McVey, new in the table this month.

Footnote: Theresa May can’t now be challenged via a confidence ballot for the best part of a year, so as a courtesy we’ve suspended a question we’ve asked since July last year – namely, if she should resign as Party leader and when.

However, it would be foolhardy to assume that she will necessarily be in place in twelve months’ time or earlier.  So the Next Tory Leader question stays pertinent.

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