By Iain Dale & Brian Brivati
If the top 100 lefties list reflected in its volume of changes in position and large number of new entries the volatility of re-arranging chairs on the titanic after the ice berg has hit, this list of top 100 Right Wingers reflects David Cameron’s conservative instincts that “if it ain’t broke don’t fit it”. The shuffling that has taken place and the new names that have appeared, reflect the fact that the need to win echoes through this list from start to finish.
Cameron remains top this year because he is the leader that has taken the Conservative Party back into contention. Labour’s conference bounce and the financial crisis might still allow Brown a route back, but for now Cameron remains master of his own fate – the next election is his to lose. Many predicted that the Mayor of London did not have the self discipline to win an election but Boris Johnson jumps 11 places and comes in second because he has actually won something and thereby given the party the belief that it can win not only London but the country. At the other end Phillippa Stroud (94) and Shaun Bailey (95) come into to the list because as candidates they represent the future of the party and on policy they have been responsible for putting some flesh on Cameron’s new Social Conservativism. Maria Miller comes in at (97) for similar reasons.
The biggest winners in the top 30 are Andrew Feldman up 70 places to 11 and Frances Maude up 40 places to 16. Other notable gainers have been Dominic Grieve up 20 places to 25 and Stephen Gilbert up 21 places to 26. They have all been putting ideological, financial or organisational substance into the general election campaign. Iain Duncan Smith is also up because of his contribution to making the party more electable, something he entirely failed to do as leader, while Oliver Letwin is down 7 to 19 because he has failed to translate his policy commission ideas into a coherent campaigning approach in the way that IDS has managed.
On the face of things, Cameron’s policy commissions resemble the great burst of policy making that Edward Heath launched in the late 1960s – never has a Conservative Party coming from opposition had as many ideas as Heath in 1970. In contrast Margaret Thatcher (who has slipped down 8 places as her party moves to the centre) announced few new ideas in 1979. Heath lost four years later, Thatcher changed the country forever.
The grandees who have risen in these lists, Nigel Lawson (a new entry at 76 because of his book questioning the orthodoxy on climate change) and John Major (a new entry at 90) and those who have slipped Douglas Hurd (down 3 at 35 and still influential though many in the foreign policy community hope Cameron will listen more to Chris Patten, new in at 45), Kenneth Clarke (58 down 28 but still with the potential to rock the boat), Lord Tebbit (at 83 down 29 as the issue of Europe gets sidelined by the need to win), take differing views on the need to do a Heath and be specific or do a Thatcher (and for that matter a Blair) and appear to keep it vague. In fact New Labour has a huge volume of policy proposals, just as Cameron has many hundreds of pages of commission reports, the issue will be how the message is shaped and delivered at the next election and between now and then.
Many Shadow Cabinet Ministers could learn lessons from Michael Gove, up 1, who has largely neutralised Ed Balls on the schools issue, Liam Fox up 3 at 15, who has done well on veterans issues and Damian Green up 20 to 54 and heading for the shadow cabinet, who has put the government on the back foot on immigration. Green’s calm and measured tackling of his brief is a model of opposition politics that can be usefully compared in A level politics classes with David Davis’s year. In last year’s list Davis was up at 7th place. We wrote then “Davis’s continuing loyalty to Cameron has delighted (and perhaps surprised) his fans and detractors”. He has dropped only 24 places because he still has the power to hurt his party’s chances with a killer speech against Cameron, but his influence is now firmly on the decline, though his fans and detractors may yet be surprised by his next move.
This year’s list reflects a party shaping up for its most realistic bid for power since 1997 – the inclusion of Frank Field at 100 is the final proof of this. If Field does a Shaun Woodward and crosses the floor to join Cameron and be rewarded with a Ministerial post it will be the final element of the run up to Blair-Brown victory that has so far been missing. Let us see next year, and, as always, this is our list – now tell us yours...
1.(-) DAVID CAMERON
Leader of the Conservative Party
Last year we said about David Cameron that “the proof of his influence will be his ability to weather the storms of the next six months.” Rarely has there been a more resilient politician in British politics. Whenever he gets a political knockback, he just gets up, dusts himself down and moves on. The consistent opinion poll leads of more than 15% are in no small part down to Cameron personally.
2. (+11) BORIS JOHNSON
Mayor of London
Many Conservatives doubted Boris Johnson’s desire or ability to beat Ken Livingstone – the doubters included himself. People underestimate Boris Johnson’s drive and ambition. Now he has the chance to prove the doubters wrong for a second time. He is without doubt the most powerful Conservative in Britain. We did debate whether he should be at the very top of this list, but power is different from influence. But there is little doubt that if his mayoralty is a success he will be play a very influential role in the next Conservative government.
3. (-1) GEORGE OSBORNE
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
George Osborne is definitely the ‘Cameron was run over by a bus’ candidate, but this is both a strength and a weakness. Amiable, clever and sociable, he has now developed a reputation as a brilliant political tactician. His task now is to develop a reputation for economic competence and gravitas. His friendship and influence with David Cameron is as great as it ever was despite one or two vain attempts to drive a wedge between them.
4. (-1) LORD ASHCROFT
Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party
Michael Ashcroft is the real power behind the Conservative election machine. His team of election strategists, led by Stephen Gilbert (see No 26), have funneled money into the 150 or so target seats and now reside in Conservative Campaign Headquarters itself. Ashcroft makes no attempt to influence policy, but his military-style election battleplans have struck fear into many a candidate and MP.
5. (+6) ANDY COULSON
Director of Communications, Conservative Party
The former editor of the News of the World was said to be shocked by what he found when he started his new job last summer. Since then he has overhauled the Conservative communications machine to very good effect. The success of the 2007 conference was in large part down to his strategic thinking and staging. Trusted and respected by the whole Shadow Cabinet he has been the first Conservative Party Director of Communications in years who hasn’t suffered a briefing campaign against him.
6. (-1) STEVE HILTON
Director of Strategy, Conservative Party
Often seen as a Svengali type figure who lurks in the shadows, Steve Hilton is not another Peter Mandelson. It is he who persuaded Cameron to adopt a green agenda and to put forward an agenda for social justice. He has a different agenda and style to the newly appointed Andy Coulson, who is more sympathetic to traditional Conservative policies. Pundits speculated that the two wouldn’t be able to work together, but they have been proved wrong. Hilton’s departure for California has not seen his influence diminish at all.
7. (-1) WILLIAM HAGUE
Shadow Foreign Secretary
The de facto Deputy Leader of the Party, it took all David Cameron’s negotiating skills to persuade a reluctant William Hague back to the Shadow Cabinet table. Hague is one of the few outside his close knit circle of advisers Cameron listens to. There is still a feeling that Hague would much prefer a life of writing books and would happily leave frontline politics altogether if the chance arose.
8. (+1) MICHAEL GOVE
Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools & Families
Michael Gove was always going to be the star of the 2005 intake of Tory MPs. His rise to the Shadow Cabinet has been both eminently predictable and effortless. Seen as one of Cameron’s closest confidantes, he’s as locked into the ‘project’ as George Osborne is, and only marginally less influential. An aggressive proponent of positive intervention in foreign conflicts, Gove will be one of the four major players in a Cameron Cabinet.
9. (-1) MICHAEL SPENCER
Conservative Party Treasurer
The Managing Director of ICAP and owner of the spreadbetting company City Index, Michael Spencer funded David Cameron’s leadership campaign and even provided him with a helicopter.
He took over from Jonathan (now Lord) Marland as Party Treasurer and was tasked with raising an election war chest. His influence in city circles has made that an easier task than it might have been for others.
10. (+4) EDWARD LLEWELLYN
Chief of Staff to David Cameron
A close friend of Cameron since their days at Eton and Oxford, Llewellyn also worked with him in the Conservative Research Department in the early 1990s. He then worked as an adviser to Chris Patten in Hong Kong, before taking up a position with Paddy Ashdown in the Balkans. His role is the lynchpin of Cameron’s private office. He’s not merely a gatekeeper, he is a key influence on Cameron, particularly on foreign policy.
11. (+70) ANDREW FELDMAN
Deputy Treasurer of the Conservative Party
Feldman is one of David Cameron's close personal friends from his university days, and was treasurer of his leadership campaign. He has made his own fortune through his family clothing firm, Jayroma. He organises the ‘Leaders Group' of party donors, who pay £50,000 to join. Earlier this year he was appointed to become Chief Executive of the Conservative Party, and now runs Conservative Campaign Headquarters alongside Party Chairman Caroline Spelman, in what some see as an uneasy alliance. Feldman is this list’s highest climber.
12. (-8) MARGARET THATCHER
Former Prime Minister
It is a measure of her success as Prime Minister that Lady Thatcher’s influence on both the left and right of British politics are still felt seventeen years after her overthrow. Without her Tony Blair would never have been possible and yet with her constantly there in the background the Conservatives have still not really come to terms with her legacy. It still pervades everything they do.
13. (+3) SIR SIMON MILTON
Deputy Mayor of London
Sir Simon Milton was the long serving leader of Westminster City Council and then moved onto the national stage by taking on the chairmanship of the LGA. He resigned that position in July 2008 to become Boris Johnson’s principal Deputy Mayor. Boris may be the front man but rest assured that Sir Simon Milton will be running the show behind the scenes.
14. (+6) CHRIS GRAYLING
Shadow Secretary of State for Work & Pensions
Chris Grayling has become known as the Shadow Cabinet’s 'attack dog', for his rare ability to get under the skin of the Labour Party. He more than anyone has taken the battle to the government, especially in the area of sleaze and the conduct of government. Grayling is even being talked about as a future leader by some, even though he has less hair than William Hague.
15. (+3) LIAM FOX
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
Fox emerged from the 2005 leadership campaign with his reputation enhanced, but didn’t feel that the job he was offered by David Cameron reflected his new stature. Since then he has come to terms with political realities and emerged the stronger for it. There are doubts whether Defence is really the ideal job for him, but his previous doubts about the Cameron project have been overcome and he has become one of the party’s strongest media performers.
16. (+40) FRANCIS MAUDE
Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
There were those who thought that when he was removed from the Party Chairmanship Francis Maude’s political career was drawing to an unremarkable close. Far from it. He has relished his new job as “enforcer”, a role in which he is tasked with ensuring that his colleagues are ready for government. Much of his work is behind the scenes chivvying and progress chasing, but if the Conservatives are to avoid the mistakes of Tony Blair’s first term, Maude’s job is one of the most vital in the Shadow Cabinet.
17. (+35) SAMANTHA CAMERON
Wife of the Leader of the Conservative Party
Initially, we debated whether Samantha Cameron belonged on this list, but being able to whisper sweet nothings into the Leader of the Opposition each night by definition makes her a person of influence on the leading man in this list. Over the last twelve months she has started to emerge from her shell, and although she is not a deeply political figure, several instances have been catalogued where she has prevented her husband from making a mistake.
18. (-1) PATRICK McLOUGHLIN
Conservative Party Chief Whip
It’s often said that nice guys don’t become chief whip, but Patrick McLoughlin is the exception who proves the rule. Having spent many years as Deputy Chief Whip he knows what the top job demands and he has become a powerful and respected figure in the Parliamentary Party. There are few people in politics whose job fits them like a hand in a glove, but McLoughlin is one of them.
19. (-7). OLIVER LETWIN
Head of Policy, Conservative Party
Oliver Letwin is more of an academic than a politician. He has a brain the size of David Willets’ but so far a deft political touch has eluded him. He’s currently charged with writing the next Conservative manifesto and is certainly one of David Cameron’s inner circle, but he has been diminished by the reaction to several of the policy commissions who have proposed wacky policies which have no chance whatsoever of being adopted. Letwin should have strangled these ideas at birth. His public profile is diminishing and is rarely let loose on the nation’s airwaves nowadays.
20. (+22) ANDREW LANSLEY
Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Said to be a favourite of the Tory leader, Lansley was Cameron’s boss in the Conservative Research Department in the early 1990s. Oliver Letwin tried to persuade him to stand for the leadership in 2005. Despite one or two gaffes in the last twelve months, Lansley is the only Shadow Cabinet Member to be told definitively that he will retain the same job in government.
21. (+2) TIM MONTGOMERIE
ConservativeHome styles itself as the home of the Tory grassroots. It started life during the Tory leadership election and hasn’t looked back. Tim Montgomerie can pick up the phone to anyone in the party and they will take the call. Montgomerie’s high ranking on this list is testament to the growing influence of the internet in politics.
22. (-7) CHARLES MOORE
Chairman, Policy Exchange & Biographer of Lady Thatcher
The former Telegraph editor is now chairman of Policy Exchange, the most influential think tank on the right. Currently writing Margaret Thatcher’s official biography his writings demonstrate an independence of thought which stops him from being pigeon-holed as a Cameronista or a Cameron critic.
23. (+6) IAIN DUNCAN SMITH
Former Leader of the Conservative Party
IDS has slowly resurrected his reputation since his fall from the leadership and has become the party’s conscience on social justice. His Social Justice Commission policy report was by far the most comprehensive of the six commissions launched by David Cameron when he became leader. His Centre for Social Justice has become a leader in its field. His conference speech last year cemented his affections in the voluntary party, who still feel a little guilty about what happened to him.
24. (+1) NICK HERBERT
Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
One of the brightest thinkers of the 2005 intake of Tory MPs, Nick Herbert has taken on one of the most demanding roles in the Shadow Cabinet. Having run David Davis’s leadership campaign in 2001 and been a key player in 2005, Herbert has - rather surprisingly for many - bought into the Cameron agenda with relative ease.
25. (+20) DOMINIC GRIEVE
Shadow Home Secretary
Last year we said that “if there was any justice in politics Dominic Grieve would have been promoted to the Shadow Cabinet long ago”. Well now he has. Grieve is still viewed with suspicion by many in the Cameron circle. He will use the coming party conference to set out his values.
26. (+21) STEPHEN GILBERT
Director, Target Seats Campaign
A former Chief Executive of the Party, Gilbert is now Michael Ashcroft’s right hand man in planning and delivering the Tories’ campaign in the marginal seats. Party agents were delighted when he returned to Central Office to direct the general election effort, along with another party stalwart, Gavin Barwell. Gilbert knows everyone there is to know in the party, hence his influence.
27. (-1) ROBERT EDMISTON
Conservative Party donor
A Christian evangelist, Robert Edmiston raised huge amounts of money for the Conservative Party through the Midlands Industrial Council. He made his money importing cars and is a keen funder of Solihull City Academy.
Proposed for a Peerage in 2006, he was turned down by the Lords Appointments Commission.
28. (-1) THOMAS STRATHCLYDE
Leader of the Conservatives in the House of Lords
The ebullient Lord Strathclyde is a hugely popular figure and has steadied the uncertain ship left behind by Lord Cranborne (now Salisbury) when he struck a deal with Tony Blair over Lords reform. Strathclyde has managed to keep their Lordships on an even keel when the rest of the Party entered into its periodic bouts of internecine warfare.
29. (-8) ANDREW MACKAY
Senior Political Adviser to David Cameron
Margaret Thatcher once said that ‘every Prime Minister needs a Willie’, referring to her trusted deputy Willie Whitelaw. Mackay performs a similar ‘wise old owl’ role for David Cameron. He stays very much in the background but those ‘in the know’ say he exerts considerable influence.
30. (-2) SIR JONATHAN SACKS
Jonathan Sacks is one of the few genuinely spiritual leaders to have an influence on modern day politics- especially thinking on the right - and is the only religious representative in this list.
31. (-24) DAVID DAVIS
Former Shadow Home Secretary
If this were a list of Top Influencers in the Debate on Civil Liberties Davis would come second only to Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty. But it isn’t. When he resigned from the Shadow Cabinet and Parliament Davis’s influence on the Tory Party inevitably took a nosedive. He will continue to be courted by the media – who will sniff out any sign of criticism of the party leadership – but his future role remains a subject for conjecture in Tory circles, a sign of that even now he has a degree of continuing influence.
32. (-10) STEPHAN SHAKESPEARE
Shakespeare was the party’s pollster under Iain Duncan Smith and is the owner of ConservativeHome and the new political website PoliticsHome. A one time Tory candidate (in 1997) he’s recently been asked by the party to chair candidate selection meetings.
33. (+55) JEREMY HUNT
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture Media & Sport
Regarded as perhaps the nicest MP of the 2005 intake, he has been promoted quickly and in July 2007 joined the Shadow Cabinet. He succeeded Virginia Bottomley in a highly marginal seat but beat off the LibDems by playing them at their own game. Hunt is seen by some as a potential future leader if he can develop a slightly harder political edge. He is the second highest climber in this year’s list.
34. (+16) SIR ANDREW GREEN
Castigated by the left, Sir Andrew has ploughed a sometimes lonely furrow in alerting the country to the dangers of excessive immigration. A seemingly constant presence on our airwaves he has been a powerful advocate of managed immigration and had a real influence on a controversial debate. It drives the left wild that they cannot lay the badge of ‘racist’ on him.
35. (-3) DOUGLAS HURD
Former Foreign Secretary
Lord Hurd’s steady stream of books (the latest a biography of Peel) keep him in the limelight, but his influence is mainly on David Cameron who he advises behind the scenes on foreign affairs. He is part of a group of ‘wise men’ who meet monthly with Cameron to discuss international issues.
36. (+17) ERIC PICKLES
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Pickles is one of politics’ great survivors. What he doesn’t know about local government isn’t worth knowing, and he’s a great political campaigner. His stock rose further after this year’s May elections where he was (rightly) credited for much of the Conservative Party’s successful strategy. But there has been a whispering campaign against him since he was thought to have claimed too much credit for his role in the Crewe & Nantwich by election.
37. (NEW) GREG CLARK
Shadow Charities Minister
A former director of the Conservative Research Department, Greg Clark is one of the most impressive of the 2005 intake of Conservative MPs. He is the highest new entry in this list and it is only a matter of time before he joins the Shadow Cabinet.
38. (+19) MATTHEW ELLIOTT
Director, The Taxpayers’ Alliance
The Taxpayers’ Alliance goes from strength to strength and retains a remarkable ability to garner column inches. In a short time the Taxpayer’s Alliance has proved itself to be a hugely effective pressure group for lower taxes and the abolition of government waste. At a time when the Conservative Party appears to have moved away from a low tax agenda, Matthew Elliott is making sure the arguments for lower taxes are heard through a mix of hard hitting reports and superbly directed research.
39. (-5) DAVID TRIMBLE
Former First Minister of Northern Ireland
When Lord Trimble took the Conservative whip last year many people assumed he would be appointed to the front bench almost immediately. Instead he has taken his time to learn the ropes. He played a key role in the merger negotiations between the Ulster Unionists and the Conservatives. He is tipped to be a member of a Cameron Cabinet.
40. (-7) ANTHONY BROWNE
Director of Policy for the Mayor of London
An ex-BBC and Times journalist Anthony Browne took over the directorship of Policy Exchange founder Nicholas Boles in May 2007 – a very tough act to follow. He had a difficult year in the job and was headhunted by Boris Johnson in the summer. A radical thinker, he’s not afraid to voice unpopular views.
41. (-10) STUART POLAK
Director, Conservative Friends of Israel
CFI has established itself as a highly effective lobby group. Polak regularly takes leading Conservatives on trips to Israel to educate them. The sceptics invariably return, if not indoctrinated, fully onside. A familiar face around the corridors of the Houses of Parliament, he has done more than most to promote Israel’s case to the right of British politics.
42. (+13) MICHAEL HINTZE
Australian born Michael Hintze is a highly successful hedge fund manager and philanthropist. His influence relates to the causes which he funds. He was the first to out himself as someone who had loaned the Conservative Party money during the last election.
43. (NEW) RICHARD SHARPE
Recently drafted in to help Boris Johnson, Richard Sharpe is a former Goldman Sachs banker. He is extremely well connected in the City and has advised Philip Green. Expected to become an influential Tory figure over the next few years.
44. (NEW) DAVID ROSS
Chief Operating Officer, Carphone Warehouse
The joint founder of Carphone Warehouse is fast becoming a key Conservative link to the world of business. He is thought to be informally helping Boris Johnson and those around David Cameron also value his input. Mr Ross's partner has organised Tory fundraisers and the Conservative leader has enjoyed foreign football jaunts with the multi-millionaire.
45. (NEW) CHRIS PATTEN
Conservative Party Chairman 1990-92
Lord Patten is no longer active in frontline politics but the former Hong Kong governor is a close friend of David Cameron and advises him behind the scenes on foreign affairs.
46. (+3) JOHN MAPLES MP
Deputy Chairman (Candidates), Conservative Party
Whoever is in charge of party candidates has not only influence but power – power to break political careers and promote individual candidates. Maples operates in a quiet, discrete way, but is adamant on continuing the drive to select more female candidates. He inherited the controversial A List but has skillfully ditched it, to all intents and purposes.
47. (-4) LORD HARRIS OF PECKHAM
After Cameron endorsed his City Academies Philip Harris become a major funder of David Cameron’s leadership campaign, giving £90,000. He promised to raise £100 million for the party if Cameron became leader but Party treasurers are (still) wondering when they will see it. He made his money from his carpets empire and is said to be worth nearly £1 billion.
48. (+12) JOHN REDWOOD
Conservative MP for Wokingham
John Redwood has had a renaissance. His Economic Competitiveness Report was a model of its kind and Redwood’s blog (johnredwoodsdiary.com) has attracted a large and influential readership. There are many who think Cameron could do worse than make Redwood Chief Secretary to the Treasury if he is serious about cutting public spending.
49. (NEW) JILL KIRBY
Director, Centre for Policy Studies
Jill Kirby has added a new dash to the Centre for Policy Studies. A specialist in family policy, she has laid on a series of seminars attended by several leading Shadow Cabinet members and David Cameron himself. The CPS is now back where it should be – at the forefront of right of centre policy formation.
50. (NEW) KEN COSTA
Ken Costa is one of the City of London’s most influential figure as Chairman of Lazard Brothers. An evangelical Christian, he is the author of a book called God at Work and chairman of Alpha International. In September 2008 he chaired the influential Carlton Club political dinner and is said to speak to David Cameron on a regular basis.
51. (-) NICK BOURNE
Leader, Welsh Assembly Conservatives
Bourne’s pro-devolution stance does not go down well with every Welsh Conservative, but he’s successfully steered them through some turbulent times. He has come out in favour of more powers for the Welsh Assembly, demonstrating once again that he’s not afraid to speak his mind. Cameron is expecting Wales to provide a dozen Conservative MPs at the next election, so Bourne has his work cut out.
52. (-12) DAVID WILLETTS
Shadow Secretary of State for Innovations, Universities & Skills
David Willett’s influence has been on the wane ever since the Tory leadership campaign where he lost credibility with both the Davis and Cameron camps for trying to defect and then changing his mind. Since then, some of his colleagues think he has lost interest in frontline politics. If so, he will be a loss to the Conservative Party who need to find a niche for one of their brightest and most original thinkers.
53. (+10) ANDREW HALDENBY
Haldenby set up Reform with Nick Herbet in 2001, having run the abortive David Davis leadership campaign. Reform is unashamedly free market and small government and has found the Cameron regime less to its liking than its predecessors. However, the Tories are at last listening to Reform’s radical ideas on a small state agenda and public service reform.
54. (+20) DAMIAN GREEN
Shadow Minister for Immigration
As chairman of the Tory Reform Group Damian Green is thought to be on the left of the party, yet he was a leading backer of David Davis (right to the bitter end) in the 2005 leadership contest. His career came to a stall under Michael Howard but his thoughtful and non aggressive approach to the immigration brief has won him plaudits. In the last year he has scored more media hits than any other middle ranking Shadow Minister.
55. (+34) JAMES O'SHAUGHNESSY
Director of Policy & Research, Conservative Party
Appointed to succeed George Bridges at Conservative Campaign Headquarters, O'Shaughnessy was formerly a leading light at Policy Exchange, the right's most influential think tank. He has transformed what remains of the Conservative Research Department and is highly thought of among the Shadow Cabinet.
56. (NEW) LYNTON CROSBY
Having directed the 2005 Conservative general election campaign, Crosby was re-hired by the Tories in January 2008 to rescue the ailing Boris Johnson mayoral campaign. A tough taking Aussie, Crosby transformed the campaign and managed to steer it to a famous victory. Don’t bet against him being brought back to oversee the Tories’ next general election campaign.
57. (NEW) NICHOLAS BOLES
Conservative Candidate for Grantham
Nicholas Boles made his name as Director of the influential think tank, Policy Exchange. He wanted to run for Mayor of London, but had to withdraw due to a cancer scare, which he has now fully recovered from. Selected to fight the safe Tory seat of Grantham in 2007, he is now a key adviser to Francis Maude on how to implement a Tory manifesto in government.
58. (-28) KENNETH CLARKE
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer
Every now and then he rears his head to show the Conservative Party what they have missed. His piercing analysis of Gordon Brown’s weaknesses in his Commons speeches makes him one of the few MPs who are able to draw an audience into the House of Commons chamber. It is rumoured that he might have one last hurrah as Leader of the House of Commons in a future Tory government.
59. (-13) SIR MICHAEL SPICER
Chairman, 1922 Committee
Sir Michael has announced he is standing down at the next election but until then his influence remains, albeit on a gradual decline. A shrewd tester of the political tea leaves he has now had to preside over three leadership changes. He knew Iain Duncan Smith was in trouble before IDS himself did. He is one of the few politicians able to keep a secret. We can think of no higher praise.
60. (+12) ED VAIZEY
Shadow Minister for Culture, Media & Sport
A former barrister and lobbyist, Ed Vaizey is one of the Tory front bench’s most effective media performers. One of the few Tories to speak ‘normal’ on the media, Vaizey is heavily tipped for promotion. He is said to love his current role, but presumably wouldn’t say ‘no’ to a eg up the ‘greasy pole’.
61. (+23) ANNABEL GOLDIE
Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party
Annabel Goldie won a lot of praise for her conduct of the 2007 Scottish Parliament election campaign, displaying superb debating skills and a dry wit, and 2008 has been a very good year for her too. Since the SNP takeover in Edinburgh Goldie has skillfully led the Conservatives in the role of being a ‘constructive’ opposition. She has eclipsed the Scottish Labour Party and LibDems and is seen very much by Alex Salmond as the real leader of the opposition.
62. (+7) ANDREW MITCHELL
Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
When David Davis left the Shadow Cabinet some thought his main ally and former campaign manager might be left exposed, but Andrew Mitchell has almost made International Development his own subject, and developed a good reputation among the NGOs.
63. (-1) ALAN DUNCAN MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
Alan Duncan is one of the most briefed against members of the Shadow Cabinet. He became the first Conservative MP to enter into a civil partnership in July. A highly competent media performer, his very public spat with various national newspapers over his business interests this year won him few friends in the media, but he believed a stand had to be made.
64. (NEW) PAULINE NEVILLE-JONES
Shadow Minister for Homeland Security
Baroness Neville-Jones enjoyed a distinguished career in the Diplomatic Service and also spent a year as Chairman of Joint Intelligence Committee. After her retirement she was recruited by David Cameron to replace Patrick Mercer as Shadow Homeland Security Minister. She has a fearsome reputation and many Tory MPs are said to find her rather intimidating – possibly because she reminds them of Judy Dench in the James Bond films.
65. (NEW) IAN CLEMENT
Deputy Mayor of London
Ian Clement resigned his position as Leader of Bexley Council to join Boris Johnson’s team of deputy mayors in May 2008. He is in charge of government relations and will play a key liaison role with London councils as well as the preparations for the Olympics.
66. (NEW) KIT MALTHOUSE
Deputy Mayor of London
Kit Malthouse is an investment banker who was elected in May to the Greater London Assembly. He was subsequently made Deputy Mayor with responsibility for the Metropolitan Police by Boris Johnson. He had been a Westminster City Councillor from 1998 to 2006.
67. (-3) SHIREEN RITCHIE
Chairman, Conservative Party Candidates Committee
The grande dame of Kensington & Chelsea Conservatives, Shireen Ritchie chairs one of the most powerful Tory Party committees which determines who is allowed to be a Conservative Party candidate. She’s also Madonna’s mother-in-law.
68. (+22) MARGARET EATON
Chairman, Local Government Association
Margaret Eaton has been the Leader of Bradford City Council for eight years and as chairman of the Conservative Councillors Association is undoubtedly the most influential female Conservative in local government. Her prominence saw her appointed chairman of the Local Government Association in August this year, succeeding Sir Simon Milton.
69. (-33) RUTH LEA
Director, Global Vision
Possibly the brainiest woman on this list, Ruth Lea positively bubbles with policy ideas. Under her direction the Centre for Policy Studies began to reassert itself as one of the right’s leading think tanks. She left the CPS in November 2007 to become director of the Euro-realist think tank Global Vision.
70. (+1) JESSE NORMAN
Conservative Candidate for Hereford
Jesse Norman is one of the leading new genre of thinkers in the Conservative Party and his writings give some philosophical ballast to David Cameron’s policy agenda. A leading light in Policy Exchange, he is now concentrating on winning back the marginal seat of Hereford from the Liberal Democrats. If he succeeds, bet on him joining the Shadow Cabinet within three years.
71. (+24) DESMOND SWAYNE
Conservative MP for New Forest West
Desmond Swayne is one of the few MPs to have served in Iraq, but he appears on this list due to his job as PPS to David Cameron. Swayne is far from the typical parliamentary bag carrier and reports to Cameron on the concerns of Conservative MPs. Over the last twelve months he has cemented his position as one of Cameron’s chief advisers.
72. (-14) DON PORTER
President, Conservative Party National Convention
A self made millionaire, Don Porter is the effective head of the voluntary part of the Conservative Party. He’s been careful to steer clear of factions and is regarded as a wise old owl figure, as well as liked by politicians and volunteers alike. He has a rare ability to pour oil on troubled waters. He finishes his term of office in March, hence his fall in this year’s list.
73. (-6) NEIL O’BRIEN
Director, Policy Exchange
O’Brien made his reputation at the leading Eurosceptic pressure group and think tank Open Europe. A few weeks ago he was appointed director of Policy Exchange. He’s by no means seen as a natural Cameroon so it will be interesting to see if he takes the organization in a slightly different direction to that of his predecessor Anthony Browne.
74. (NEW) JUSTINE GREENING
Shadow Treasury Minister
Since her election to Parliament in 2005, Justine Greening has impressed her colleagues and opponents. She has acquired a high media profile and shone in her new job in the Treasury team. She is heavily tipped for promotion to the Shadow Cabinet, but she tells friends that it’s too early for her.
75. (+12) SAYEEDA WARSI
Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion
Warsi's appointment to the Shadow Cabinet caused a few convulsions among the rank and file. Her remarks about freedom fighters and terrorists after 7/7 were not well received. However, she has won many over by a series of accomplished performances on Question Time and a commitment to reviving Conservative fortunes in the inner cities. Her trip to the Sudan with Wahid Ali to free a British school teacher won her many friends.
76. (NEW) NIGEL LAWSON
Chancellor of the Exchequer 1983-89
Lord Lawson has developed a role as a leading Climate Change Sceptic (NB the avoidance of the word ‘denier’). His book ‘An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Climate Change’ has caused many on the right – although sadly not David Cameron - to reconsider their views on the issue. Even David Miliband has a copy on his desk.
77. (+3) THERESA MAY
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
One of the great survivors of modern politics, Theresa May is enjoying her role shadowing Harriet Harman. She is the best known female face (with the best known feet) on the Tory front bench, which insulates against those who don’t ‘get’ her.
78. (NEW) PETER ROBINSON
First Minister of Northern Ireland
Having succeeded Ian Paisley in June, Robinson knows he has a tough act to follow. More urbane and mainstream than his predecessor, he is not helped in his job by the increasingly bizarre comments on social issues made by his wife Iris.
79. (-3) GILLIAN SHEPHARD
Chairman, Association of Conservative Peers
Baroness Shephard has established herself as a key mover and shaker in the House of Lords. As Chairman of the Association of Conservative Peers - in other words, their shop steward - she provides an astute early warning system to the party leadership. There are those who suggest that if Lord Strathclyde were to fall on his sword, Lady Shephard would be an extremely popular replacement.
80. (+3) MARGOT JAMES
Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party (Women)
Margot James made her fortune in health public relations before embarking on a political career. A prominent ‘A' Lister she is now the party's candidate in Stourbridge and was appointed by David Cameron as Vice Chairman of the Party with the task of reaching out to the female vote. Described as the best looking woman in Tory politics, James will be an important Tory voice if she wins her marginal seat.
81. (-2) DOUGLAS MURRAY
Director, Centre for Social Cohesion
Murray is rapidly becoming known as Britain's leading advocate of neo-conservatism. He is gaining a ubiquitous media presence and is an eloquent advocate of all things American and a strong supporter of taking military action against Iraq. The Centre for Social Cohesion has been set up to warn against the dangers of Islamist extremism.
82. (+12) STEPHEN GREENHALGH
Leader, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham
Greenhalgh led Hammersmith & Fulham to a storming victory in 2007 on a manifesto of cuts in council tax, waste and some services. Since then many other councils have taken careful note of how they did it. He has also lost no time in implementing this radical manifesto.
83. (-29) LORD TEBBIT
Former Conservative Cabinet Minister
Norman Tebbit still has the knack of getting to the nub of an issue with a soundbite designed to cause maximum effect. As a consequence, whenever the Tories run into trouble, Tebbit is on hand to add a piquant quote or two. He falls this year due to his tendency to become Mr Rent-a-Quote.
84. (-60) ANN WIDDECOMBE
Former Shadow Home Secretary
Despite long since retiring from the Conservative front bench, Widdecombe retains a huge audience in the party and in the country. Her celebrity TV appearances ensure that she remains one of the most recognised politicians in the country. The reason for her fall in the list this year is her announcement that she is retiring from Parliament at the next election.
85. (-) GUIDO FAWKES
The notorious Guido Fawkes blog is written by the libertarian inclined Paul Staines. Having made his money in the City he spends his day blogging about politics and pulling politicians down a peg or two. His blog attracts nearly half a million readers a month and is read by a large proportion of MPs and the Westminster Village.
86. (NEW) DANIEL HANNAN
Conservative MEP, Columnist & Blogger
Fiercely Eurosceptic, Hannan has established a powerful brand for himself, not just through his actions in the European Parliament but through his columns and, more latterly, his impressive blog [ADD LINK].
87. (-39) NIGEL FARAGE MEP
Leader, United Kingdom Independence Party
UKIP has made no headway in the last twelve months despite the valiant efforts of its leader. Farage presides over a party riven by splits and plots and his frustration at his amateurish colleagues is said to be showing. An excellent media performer, the UKIP leader attracts huge jealousies from his rivals within the party. Next year’s Euro elections will be a key indicator of how he is performing.
88. (+5) EDWARD LEIGH MP
Chairman, Public Accounts Committee
Leigh gets on this list on two counts - firstly because his select committee chairmanship is the most powerful, but also because of his chairmanship of the socially conservative Cornerstone Group. Cruelly dubbed ‘Tombstone' by those who are not of the ‘faith, flag and family' persuasion, it has around thirty supporters in Parliament and a growing number outside.
89. (-54) CAROLINE SPELMAN
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Last year we said Caroline Spelman needed to carve out a higher media profile. Unfortunately this has been achieved in a way she would not have wanted. The last few months have been dominated by headlines about her expenses, which has meant that her influence within the Party has been adversely affected as people await the outcome of the Standards Commissioners’ investigations. We look forward to a steep rise next year, following her complete acquittal.
90. (NEW) SIR JOHN MAJOR
Prime Minister 1990-97
Sir John has avoided the mistakes of his predecessors and only comments on current affairs when he has an important point to make. This means that he is listened to very closely. Behind the scenes he is an important source of confidential advice for David Cameron.
91. (NEW) DYLAN JONES
Editor, GQ Magazine
David Cameron’s author of choice, Jones has just published his book ‘Cameron on Cameron’. A supporter of David Davis is the Tory leadership contest, Jones has now become a high profile cheerleader for Cameron. He has also added more political content to his magazine, which is the most influential mens’ magazine in Britain.
92. (+4) MIKE WHITBY
Mike Whitby has been the leader of the UK's second biggest local authority since June 2004, albeit in what he describes as a “progressive coalition” with the Liberal Democrats. His plans for the rebuilding of Birmingham City Centre are being studied closely by other cities. Over the last year he has been aggressive in promoting the city as a place to do business and a tourist destination.
93. (NEW) CRISPIN BLUNT
Chairman, Conservative Middle East Council
Crispin Blunt combines his role as MP for Reigate with the chairmanship of the Conservative Middle East Council, which aims to provide a counterbalance to the huge influence of the Conservative Friends of Israel. He leads regular trips of MPs to the Middle East. He is also a Conservative whip.
94. (NEW) PHILIPPA STROUD
Conservative Candidate for Sutton & Cheam
Philippa Stroud is the driving force behind Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice and authored much of his Commission’s report on social justice, Breakdown Britain.
95. (NEW) SHAUN BAILEY
Conservative Candidate for Hammersmith
Co-founder of the charity My Generation, Bailey has established himself as a key adviser to the Conservatives on social justice, educational underachievement and fighting inner city crime. If he’s elected at the next election expect him to rise fast.
96. (NEW) PHILIP HAMMOND
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Hammond has shone in his current job, after a relatively anonymous period at Work & Pensions. His business background has helped him become a key part of George Osborne’s treasury team.
97. (NEW) MARIA MILLER
Shadow Minister for the Family
They embodiment of what David Cameron wants the Tory Party to look like, Maria Miller is tipped for a promotion to the Shadow Cabinet at the next reshuffle. However, like Justine Greening, she has told friends it’s too early and she’s not ready. Such self knowledge is rare in a politician. She will go far. Eventually.
98. (NEW) OWEN PATERSON
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Many eyebrows were raised when David Cameron promoted Paterson, IDS’s former PPS, to the top table, but it has proven to be a shrewd move. The recently announced merger between the Conservatives and the Ulster Unionists is in large part down to Paterson’s quiet, behind the scenes negotiations.
99. (NEW) NADINE DORRIES
Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire
Nadine Dorries is perhaps the highest profile MP of the 2005 intake. In part because of her campaigning on abortion term limits and in part because of her controversial blog she attracts great admiration and jealousy in equal measures.
100. (NEW) FRANK FIELD
Labour MP for Birkenhead
It may be odd to include a Labour MP on a right wingers list, but Field holds great influence over the development of Conservative policy on pensions and social security issues. Attempts have been made to tempt him to defect, so far without effect.